YOUNG VOICES: Be friendly, make new friends at college

2013-09-02T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Be friendly, make new friends at collegeBy Jaylen Johnson
September 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

At Indiana University Bloomington, only 4 percent of the students claim they are African American or black.

When I first saw that percentage I was shocked. That number seemed surprisingly low. But when I got to campus I noticed the number is actually understandable. Diversity is something that is definitely encouraged and promoted at IUB. It is actually achieved.

Just walking around campus you will see students from many races and nationalities. I’ve seen Caucasian, Korean, Chinese and Mexican students in the span of a few seconds of looking around me. There are many different shades of skin color roaming the campus.

It feels great being at a place where there are students of every race and nationality who are willing to become your friend.

Some students don’t know English or barely know it. Some students know multiple languages. There are many students from different countries with many diverse backgrounds that have interesting stories. It's pretty cool to meet new people and see what they’ve done in their life and learn about it. It’s a good experience to hear people speak a different language and wonder what they are saying, just like they are with the Americans speaking English.

Then there are some interesting responses when people answer why they came to Indiana University Bloomington or how they ended up at IUB.

Some say they got the most financial assistance from IUB; others say they just wanted to get away and start their life fresh. People have told me that they came to IUB partially because of the campus and how beautiful it is. Some students have said they wanted to be at a very diverse campus. Many students are taking classes about different world cultures because they are interested in learning about cultures.

I’ve met students from my dorm who lived in California, New York, Illinois and other states before they came to Indiana University Bloomington. That was only in a single day that I met all these great people.

During my time on campus I probably will meet students from most states, if not all of them. There are students from every state attending IUB. The only area that isn’t represented at IUB is Antarctica.

Accepting people for who they are is encouraged here and at many other colleges and universities.

People have always told me to treat others the way I would want for them to treat me. Whether you’re at a big school or a small school, there are some great and interesting people that are just waiting to meet you.

Just be friendly and be willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger. That person could end up being a good friend for the rest of your life, or even your husband or wife.

Jaylen Johnson, of Merrillville, is a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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