A Future Meeting

Many students expand their view of the world during their time in college. Such growth often results from encounters between students who have lived different cultural, economic, or academic experiences. With your future growth in mind, describe a potential classmate that you believe you could learn from either within or outside a formal classroom environment.

In a day and age when religious persecution might be expected to be a diminishing issue, one might be surprised to realize that it is in fact alive and well. While crusades may no longer be erupting to rid the world of the “non-believers” and convert them to Christianity, a more passive religious persecution has arisen in some of the more conservative, Christian areas of the country. Growing up as a Hindu and having been frequently subjected to the teachings of Christ in a harsh, obtrusive manner, I personally know how it feels to be a victim of religious torment. For this reason especially, I hope to meet someone on my college journey who does not govern his or her life solely by strict religious standards, but instead espouses strong, personal beliefs while allowing others to freely practice their own religions. I strongly believe that meeting someone of this nature will help me grow into a more confident and stronger person, knowing that the number of those who attempt to oppress my religion is, at least, lessened by one. Growing up as a Hindu, I learned to practice passiveness, a belief that also applies to my attitude towards other religions. However, I have not been so lucky as to have often been on the receiving end of this attitude. While all religions expect followers to utilize their teachings in their everyday lives, I believe that some encourage the oppression of others who are attempting to live their lives by the same standards. Living in a largely Christian community, I have experienced the challenges that go hand-in-hand with following a different belief system. Being told that I will go to Hell for not believing that Jesus is my savior is not an easy thing to brush off. There is a fine line between practicing one’s religious beliefs on a daily basis and governing a society based solely on those religious standards. When the line is crossed, it results in the persecution of others’ beliefs. However, I strongly feel that it is possible to practice the teachings of one’s religion while also understanding that no one – regardless of the belief system that they endorse – should be subjected to abuse. College is a time when one is able to engage with students from all over the world. Unlike in high school, students come from diverse backgrounds, creating a multi-cultural and multi-religious canvas. I expect to meet many students with various personal and religious beliefs, and especially hope to meet someone who is religious, but who also respects the right of others to hold different beliefs. Encountering someone who, like me, believes that everyone should be provided with the space to live however they like so long as they do not oppress others will allow me to grow into someone who is more confident; someone who can walk a little taller knowing that they will not experience religious abuse from at least one individual; someone who can live life without the constant fear of being subjected to wrongful oppression. Many people do not realize the extent to which religious persecution continues to impact our society. Having been subjected to it, I have felt the repercussions of not being a follower of the dominant religion. In college, I hope to meet someone who will not live his or her life based solely on religious standards, and who will encourage others to express their own beliefs. Surrounding myself with open-minded individuals will transform me into a stronger and more confident person, determined to live my life in accordance with my own beliefs.

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