33°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

How college cultivates diversity

Students+study+in+the+Campus+Center.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Students study in the Campus Center. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

With the price of college education increasing, many people often ask, “Is a college degree worth it anymore?” While I can’t offer an answer on whether the monetary value of college will be worth it, I do think that, for me, college offers something priceless: the diversity I’ve encountered while attending.

I was raised in Boston for most of my life. Being low-income, there weren’t many opportunities for me to encounter the world outside of my own social sphere. However, I’ve always been a curious person with a pretty innate desire to learn about the world I live in. This is why college was always something I wanted to attend, even if it means I currently have to work two part-time jobs to support the cost of attendance.

Before transferring to UMass Boston, I attended Bunker Hill Community College. I didn’t feel like I had the full college experience while at BHCC, but the one thing that I can say they had was vast diversity in their student demographic. I met so many multifaceted groups of people and since I went there straight out of high school, it was extremely different from what I was used to!

There were a lot of immigrant students, as well as some refugees. I heard life-changing stories in many of my English classes, and it really helped me not only open my eyes, but grow as a person. I became friends with people who came to Bunker Hill from places like Japan, and this was their first time in the United States. All these people talking to me about cultural differences, as well as helping them in this undoubtedly difficult transition, has changed my outlook on life.

Now, after transferring to UMass Boston, diversity has only increased with the greater number of students that attend here. I’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to fellow classmates from different walks of life and I’ve learned so much from class discussions about cultures that I might’ve never thought of on my own. There are also, of course, many more clubs and student organizations, so that has allowed me to find more connections outside of the classroom. We’ve been able to connect over common interests such as food or songs, and even in these situations, I still learn something new.

I think the exposure to worlds different than my own is what allows me to be a well-rounded person. Sure, could I have not gone to college and experienced this? Of course. However, I’ve always been a pretty shy person. College helps eliminate this obstacle for me. I can begin conversations with people in my classes or clubs simply by asking, “What’s your major?” I’ve often found that this answer easily opens the door to deeper conversations as you get to find out a person’s passions and the background that influenced them to choose this career path.

There’s so much to learn from other people; things that I might’ve never questioned or potentially even thought about. College allows so many demographics and lifestyles to come together on one campus, and I think this is an opportunity that’s worth seizing. Learning about people’s lives cultivates a certain level of empathy and understanding about the world that I think would be very hard to get if I hadn’t surrounded myself with people different from me.

So, while college is definitely getting more expensive as the years go on, being given this experience of engaging and learning about people who are different from myself makes this all worth it to me. While I love the classrooms and learning materials, the diversity of people is truly what keeps me coming here day after day. I have grown in ways that I never would have if I didn’t meet all these new people on a daily basis and, for me, this exchange of knowledge and wisdom is priceless.

About the Contributors
Mercy Moncada, Opinions Writer
Dong Woo Im, Photographer