In America, college and the military are the two most prominent career paths to success. Both paths lead to financial stability, a competitive resume, and a diverse experience. Some people like me have experienced both. I lived all four years of college on campus. For two of those years I was a Resident Assistant. About a month after my graduation I enlisted in the Army active duty. One of the most important similarities I find between college and the military is that both offer a diverse experience.
Diversity is important in society because it takes us out of the comfort of our cultures and forces us to mingle with other peoples’ ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and more. Having a diverse experience combats against racism, sexism, classism, and it opens our minds to not be judgmental of stereotypes we hear from the media and our peers.
I grew up in a conservative Christian home. My culture led me to believe certain beliefs on gender roles, homosexuality, and many other things. In my home my mom took care of all the household chores while my dad manicured all of the outdoor chores. I never cleaned my own bathroom or washed my own dishes until I came to college. In college I had the opportunity to minor in Women’s Studies. Those courses on gender roles opened my mind to how a man and a woman should operate a household. That chores should not be divided by gender but divided by interests. I’m not much of an outside person, so I would enjoy inside chores more, but my future wife may be an outdoors person and enojy mowing the lawn.
I went to college in Tennessee, so even though college provided me with an experience to open my mind from the traditions and beliefs I was raised with I found that race was still divided. In The University Center where students went to eat, most of the black people sat in one section and most of the white people sat in another. The black section was called “Little Africa” because the school was predominately white and blacks were a minority. Where most of the white people sat was called “Europe.” Race was not divided by hate, but more so preference of sitting with racial peers. Not only was the University Center divided by race, but by social culture too. The Christian Crusade for Christ members all sat together in one section, the Greek organizations all sat together, and everyone else was dispersed with their friends.
When I joined the Army I saw improvements that were not trending in college. In college you had more freedom to stay in your comfort zone of friends and culture. In the Army you are more forced to mingle with other races and cultures because your life is no longer about your comfort zone, but about completing the mission you signed up for. American soldiers are not all from the mainland or your area code. The American Army consists of soldiers from other countries, different races and, religions that are not popular in America
During my basic training I worked with people from Africa, I worked with atheists, I worked with white people, Asians, blacks, Ukrainians, etc. I like the Army for its diversity and opportunity for people to come out of their comfort zones in ways that colleges could not provide. This is why I say that the two most important career paths that people take are college and the military because both challenges you out of your comfort zone and work in a diverse setting.
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