College: a time to explore new ideas

Photo by Megan Alexander

Virginia Gallner

A professor once told me that college is a candy store for ideas. It is a place where you can slow down from the bustle of life and sample new flavors you could have never imagined. Chocolate covered almonds. Marzipan. Licorice imported from Australia.

Here, in the nest of university life, you have the time and the freedom to explore whatever ideas catch your fancy. See a poster for a philosophy class while you are walking down the hall? Something about neuroscience? Maybe the stories of Ancient Egypt or Medieval England catch your fancy? Give it a try!

When I started here at UNO, I enrolled as a Religious Studies major. I was drawn to the idea of studying world religions and seeing how people interact from different perspectives and worldviews. At first I thought I would couple this with a history major and approach the study of religion from a purely historical perspective. However, my coursework led me on a number of different paths within that degree: from anthropology to communication, international politics to counter-terrorism research.

As a Religious Studies and International Studies double major with a handful of minors, I have sampled quite a lot. Some of it has intrigued me so deeply that I have continued reading long after the class has finished. Sometimes I find subjects that I would never want to touch again unless absolutely necessary. Some of us just do not get along with quadratic equations, and that is okay. College is the time to discover things about ourselves.

Going outside of your comfort zone has expanded my social network and the way I interact with the world. While it is great to have friends who are studying similar topics, it is wonderful to have friends who are outside your major, or even your college. Some of the closest friends I have made here are from the College of Fine Arts and Media. Embracing different approaches and perspectives can enrich our lives.

I have embraced this marketplace of ideas we call university. I have sampled many different candies from the standard offerings to the unique and obscure, and I am so much happier because of it.

Do not be limited by the bounds of your declared major. This is your time to learn and absorb everything that the university offers.

If you have not decided yet, all the better! Take this time to find what excites you the most. You will find your passion through exploring ideas.

So, I urge you to take the course that thrills you and scares you and makes you want to learn more. Try the candy you have never tried before because it might be the most delicious thing you have ever tasted.