College Diaries: Diversity


Hannah O’Leary, senior, shares her ideas about her experiences in finding diversity.

The beginning of a new school marks a time for growth and learning. As thousands of kids march through the hallways, accompanied by mechanical pencils with their erasers still attached and sparkling white high-top Converse, there is an underlying current of stress among a certain group of students: the seniors. It should be our year, where we reign over the school and assure that this will, indeed, be the best year yet. However, everyone forgot to mention that there is one small thing that most seniors must do before they can coast through their senior year: apply to college.

Oh, yeah, that one small thing. That everyone claims will predict the rest of our lives. So follow me as I navigate the world of college applications, freak out over deadlines and look toward my future.

When applying for college, it is all too easy to forget the big picture, why we are going to college. As high school students, we are constantly immersed in our own little world and often times I think that we forget about the world around us.

Personally, I believe that one of the main reasons that people go to college is to expand their view of the world. We, as Homestead students, grow up in the infamous “Mequon bubble.” While it is a great place to grow up, Mequon definitely keeps kids in a sheltered bubble. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we fail to experience different points of view.

I experienced this phenomenon first-hand when I went to Indianapolis for a journalism convention from Nov. 9 through the 12. While I was there, learning about the nuances of journalism, I met people from all walks of life. I met groups of people from Georgia, Missouri, California, Texas and New Jersey. Some grew up very privileged and others did not. Despite this difference, I noticed one common thread: we were all teenagers.

That’s right. Opinionated, loud, fun-loving teenagers. From all ethnicities, all religions and all backgrounds. Despite our differences, we we more alike than unalike, and I think that this revelation allowed me to open a conversation with these different people. And while talking with these different groups of people, I learned a lot. About everything.

I met a lot of people the day after the election, and, therefore, encountered many different viewpoints as its outcome. The views that I encountered were eye-opening, and I think that I learned a lot about the places people come from and how their backgrounds shaped their view of the world.

Of course, this was not the only experience that I have ever had with large multitudes of people who had extremely different viewpoints than I do, it is just a recent example that I think is relevant and timely.

I would like to remind you that this experience lasted just one weekend. Imagine how much your mind, opinions, and ideas could change after years of living in a melting pot of different sorts of people. Interacting with and living in the worlds of people from all walks of life will surely be amazing, and I cannot wait to see what I will learn about the world around me.