For many college first-year students, life has (up until this point) been lived in one place with people of mostly similar backgrounds.Once in college, however, you will be exposed to a variety of viewpoints, opinions, cultures, and experiences that will be very different from your own.
“Beware lest any man [educator, politician, rock star, news anchorman/woman] take you captive through vain and deceitful philosophy [naturalism, materialism, existentialism, pragmatism], after the tradition of men [Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Wellhausen, Freud, Dewey, Foucault], after the rudiments of the world [socialism, evolution, higher criticism, humanism, moral relativism, deconstructionism, collectivism], and not after Christ.” — Colossians 2:8The 20th century is the praxis of this verse.
You don’t have to play the “devil’s advocate” and stick up for opinions that you truly find appalling, but you can ask probing questions, critique arguments, and voice the viewpoints that nobody else is sharing. On college assignments, students have a tendency to write about things they are familiar with.
This may make for easier work, but it doesn’t have the kind of benefits that learning about unknown topics does.
When you do a research paper on a culture you know little about, or write a philosophy essay on a moral dilemma you hadn’t considered before, you will be able to learn with an open mind and grow in areas you hadn’t previously imagined.
Sure, it might be hard to dive into an unfamiliar topic, but in the long-term, learning how to challenge yourself like this is sure to come in handy. Being away from home, college is a good time to reflect on where your beliefs came from.