Learning to Keep an Open Mind

Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

“Feminism is witchcraft.” someone said.

Adrenaline rushes through my body. Friends I’ve had for years vanish when we discover that we held polarizing stances on at least this issue and perhaps more. I found myself in a similar situation during debates. Irritation often disrupts my ability to form insightful conclusions.

This summer I attended ASDAN’s World Youth Economic Forum, where debates are constantly held among contestants from various countries. I had the opportunity to interact more closely with the perspectives of people when surrounded by different cultures and experiences. Initially, I struggled to calmly respond to arguments that I disagree with.

My emotions often take over rational thinking, hindering the ability to build a potent argument. After participating in more debates, I slowly learned to remain nonjudgmental when facing polarizing opinions, and to respond to them with calmness and objectivity. I realized that extracting pieces from different perspectives helps enrich my own. Even viewpoints that I completely disagree on can be used to articulate a stronger version of my own argument.

Not only does the presence of diverse ideas bring more depth to my perception, but it also produces a more well-rounded...

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