You’re probably slightly bemused regarding the pertinence of the last three words in this title, so I will be very forthright and tell you that there is none. Its function is simply to reference and ridicule the title criterion of the many books composed by middle-aged women about the meaning of life.
All puns aside, in this day and age, Individuality is becoming less and less prevalent. We live in a society in which people are rarely celebrated for their differences and are instead encouraged to conform their personas to what ever the current trend is. We are subconsciously being told that what makes us us is something to be ashamed of, that what makes us special isn’t special at all.
Because of this we depend on artificial sources of self-worth; we are praised for what we own and not what we are. We are complemented on our outfits, our good taste in buying products, our houses, or our varying levels of formal education. Rare is the occasion in which we are complemented on something truly personal. Rare is the conversation that strikes an intimate cord.
Why not embrace diversity? What’s wrong with something different? Lets face it; a world in which everyone looked the same and liked the same things would be boring and joyless. There would be no contrast, no vivid euphoria nor dramatic misery. The recent trend of “Hipsters” embodies this idea by intentionally avoiding the mainstream, despite the irony of conforming to a culture that prides itself on being nonconformist. True “Hipsters” are people who don’t know that they are.
The primary reason individuality is shunned in our culture is because folks are afraid of the unknown and tend to be unwelcoming and unaccommodating to things they’ve yet to experience. This perpetuates the ongoing fear of being discriminated against for having a belief or preference that varies from the norm. Because of this, people are generally hesitant to make themselves vulnerable or display their differences for fear of judgment. Those in society that have the wherewithal to expose their differences confidently are often classified as leaders, pioneers or mavericks.
In high school, many people have yet to form a concrete identity for themselves and are therefore extremely susceptible to conformity out of a deep desire to fit in. Ironically, typical high school friendships are superficial and short-term because people are liked for the persona they project instead of the one they actually embody. Because of the aforementioned concept, the most popular kids are often the most unfulfilled because they don’t have the capacity to be true to themselves.
In comparison, college is an opportunity for folks to come into their own and genuinely explore and develop how they want to represent themselves. Augsburg provides students with an excellent environment to experience new things and become more open-minded with its promise to intentional diversity. Our college understands the value of diversity for developing peoples and wholly embodies that ideology in its curriculum and staff.
The diverse collegiate experience offered to the students of Augsburg is a pleasant rarity that shouldn’t be undervalued. It creates a welcoming space that is not only accepting, but also encouraging to differences in the belief that they may make us stronger. Be an individual, be proud of whom you are. Because it doesn’t matter if your black, white, blue or yellow, you’ll always have a place at Augsburg.