College is a place to broaden one’s horizons. Until I attended Texas Tech, I thought everyone must be like the people I’d been hanging around back in my small hometown. You know, conservative types with a love for guns, booze, and slightly off-colored jokes. Then, the first day of school - in my dorm dining hall - I met a guy from China who told me about Mao Tse-tung. I’d heard the name, but knew nothing about the man. I wasn’t converted – no, far from it, but I was educated about an ideology I knew nothing about. Shortly thereafter I attended a philosophy class in which the professor was talking about the possibility of multi-universes. I’d never heard that term, and it blew my mind to think that such a thing even existed. Wow…the earth isn’t flat after all! And all this time I thought the sun was rising and setting each day (just kidding). One of the most educating things about getting an education is meeting people from all over the world -- Muslims,
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Jews, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, etc. In the world I’d been living in, everyone went to one of the big three churches around town – Methodist, Baptist or Church of Christ. Yes, there was an occasional Catholic thrown in for good measure, but it was mostly the Big Three that set the standards, provided the boundaries of right ‘n’ wrong, took us on ski trips, and threatened us with hell. And then there was the proverbial Texas high school football coach – a ‘leader of young men’ who said things like: “Give ‘em hell”…. and “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over” … and “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a failure” … and stuff like that. But I digress. College was also a place where I discovered that I wasn’t all that special. Indeed, I was average. Well, maybe a little below average. I was just another primate the world did not revolve around. And it was eye-opening to find out that not everyone voted for George W. Bush, like my parents had. And not only that, but some of my fellow students were
Democrats. Actual Democrats! I didn’t know there were any left in the Lone Star State – until I went to Tech. And I’ll be damned, some of them had some pretty good ideas about social issues, the federal budget, defense spending, and so on. I found myself questioning my own parents. This was some pretty spooky territory. I mean, could they have been wrong about everything? Well, not exactly, but they were – as it turned out – wrong on a good number of things. Could this be? My own parents – the Fox “news” junkies? Surely they suspected I might meet some new people in college – and people that might have an influence on their sweet little boy. But yes, it happened. I began to think for myself. What a concept. It had never occurred to me that I might have some thoughts about things that had never before surfaced in my mind. And the more people I met and talked to, the more I began to realize that college was indeed a place of “higher education” – but not the sort of
higher education I was expecting. I was taking the entry-level courses such as political science, English, history – and so on, but I had no idea my real education would be coming from the people I was meeting. How enlightening! I was thrilled. And I began to question everything – my parents, my old high school teachers, the political parties, old friends – and even the existence of a male God. I began to realize that just because I’d been indoctrinated by thoughts and beliefs, I didn’t have to stay there. I could – as it turned out, move on with my life. I also realized that questions – large and small, would continue to come my way, but I would welcome those questions with more of an open mind. Thank you, Texas Tech – for pulling me out of a dusty old box. The multi-cultural experiences you gave me will live with me until the day I die, and for this - I am eternally grateful. Wreck ‘em!