Arts & Leisure

Dear Mari: Are things really that bad?

ARE THINGS QUITE as bad as they seem? Being exposed to different perspectives can be good.

Dear Marilyn,

I am a college student. I used to really enjoy school, and my life in general, but lately I am feeling confused and sometimes even sad.

  The problem is that I feel that my teachers have been filling me in on harsh realities that I wasn’t even aware of before. I feel like I have been in a secure plastic bubble my entire life, and now that I am in the real world, it scares me.

Science classes make me feel as if doomsday is near. Philosophy classes make me realize that I have not been in touch with reality. History class makes me feel as if I’ve been lied to for my entire life. And my political science class makes me feel like our government is run by a bunch of crooks.

The list goes on and on.

How do I stay optimistic and happy when I am learning so much depressing stuff? I am glad that I am gaining knowledge, but I don’t like the way that I am feeling. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Signed, Confused Student

Dear Confused Student,

   There are many things that students can learn in college. They can learn to be organized, to meet deadlines, to get along with people and teachers that have different backgrounds and ideas, and yes, to be exposed to new perspectives about courses of study.

   All of this can be exciting, but, as you are finding out, it can be puzzling as well. The thing you must focus on is that simply because you are learning new things, doesn’t mean that you have to change all of your own attitudes.

   Being exposed to other ideas is good. It gives you a chance to evaluate and analyze things from a different point of view. It can make you much more well rounded.

   However, don’t lose your optimism and sense of humor. You don’t have to “buy in” to everything that you are being exposed to in class. But, these new ideas and concepts can make for very interesting and thoughtful discussions.

   All in all, the college experience is for your personal growth and development. Being exposed to a broad range of topics is part of that growth.

   Then, it will be up to you to determine how you want to apply what you have learned to your further life experiences.

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