Meet Madison. This is my best friend of about four and a half years. Together, we endured high school, and did some pretty kick-ass things along the way. Now, she goes to A&M, and continues to be an inspiration to me and many others (including her mom, the featured “Dolla Billz” in an earlier post, who Madison gets her badassness from). Over the years, we’ve changed and grown together, both becoming better and more “woke” (socially aware) through not only time, but each other as well.
Thanks to Madison, I see that a truly great friendship is about more than just laughing and spending time together. Madi has inspired me to be a deeper thinker, a more caring friend, a more passionate feminist, and a generally better person. She has done so many remarkable things: one of which being that she is the officer of marketing at the A&M chapter of The Women’s Bakery, an organization which works to empower and educate women in other parts of the world so that they may begin their own businesses. I highly recommend checking it out, and you can even donate!
You can follow Madi at @MadisonJaco to see some of her adventures, jokes, and musings.
It’s a universal fact that with new life experiences comes change. With that being said, it’s obvious that as a student goes through college and is faced with people of varying backgrounds, beliefs, and values, their own mindsets will be challenged. It’s a standard facet of the college experience.
The same is true of my own. In the past four months, I’ve traded out my conservative hometown for a campus blooming with all kinds of ideas, liberal, moderate, or otherwise. It’s exposed me to so many different belief systems and influenced how I see the world.
I also feel as though this blog has inspired growth. It’s challenged me to go deeper, to not only state what I believe, but to explain it to others. It was also an effective tool in strengthening my writing skills, a trait I must always be honing as I embark on my pursuit of a career in journalism. I believe this is something that I could continue doing, as it has been beneficial to my beliefs as well as my career. I noticed that my most popular post, with roughly a hundred hits, was one that was shared by a friend of mine’s mom, and thus it spread. That was also my most popular week. Through that I noticed the impact of social media.
I’ve made friends of various creeds who have made me question my way of thinking. I still hold the same beliefs near and dear to my heart, but I have grown more accepting and understanding of other viewpoints. I had always been around people with starkly different ideas, but now that I’m free to speak as loudly and clearly and with as open of a heart as I can muster, I feel as if I’ve grown in my ability to truly empathize with those who think differently from me.
No longer do I feel as if my way of thinking is ultimately right. Of course, to me, it is, but it isn’t so for others who have been affected by different things in life that have lead them to believe other things. Now, I feel that any viewpoint, so long as it respects others, is one that I can learn and grow from.