Respecting Differences of Opinion

High school and college are all about discovering, learning about, and embracing — or at least respecting — diversity. To get along in the dorm, in the classroom, and in the world, we all need to learn this lesson early.

You should not assume that you and your friends and classmates are going to agree on everything, whether it's the clubs you join, the justifications (or lack thereof) for war, social issues like underage drinking, or the existence of God. You might have some deep, late night talks or some loud "discussions" where forced agreement hopefully is not the goal.

If you talk more than you listen and fail to at least seriously consider the merits in other points of view, you cheat yourself out of one of the most important learning experiences that adulthood has to offer: the opportunity to have your thoughts, views, positions, and ideas challenged, tested, and either confirmed or altered by those of your classmates or roommates.

No matter how dogmatic your views are on a subject, do approach any interaction of a substantive nature with your peers respectfully. Allow for differences of opinion and listen to ideas and opinions that contradict your own. You can agree to disagree. Having mutual respect for your differences can expand your mind. Whether your opinion ultimately changes or not, you'll be surprised at how much you learn.