I am very fortunate to have attended a high school with a diverse student body, as the unique experiences I have had at Loomis have truly impacted my life. I grew up in a homogenous town of a 98% white American population, where nearly everyone I went to school with shared similar experiences from similar backgrounds. Coming in as a freshman, I could have never expected the amount of information I would learn from a diverse array of students.
The first of my many significant impressions came from talking with people whose lives were affected by prejudice and discrimination; those conversations made me realize how my life has not been negatively impacted because of what I look like or because of who I love. Without these personal interactions, I likely would not have been able to fully understand and empathize with serious problems that occur systematically in our society.
In my junior year, I befriended new students from Finland, Ukraine, Switzerland, and many other places. Hearing their perspectives on American culture was intriguing, as I then considered how the culture of America has affected me as a person. After more time spent with my new friends, I even adopted some aspects of European culture, learning to eat with my fork in my left hand and my knife in my right. Such a subtle change in my own habits seems like no big deal, but it never would have happened without befriending a student from Finland.
I realized that the most important thing to remember when in an environment filled with different types of people is never to shy away from new experiences. By using these opportunities to meet different people, my time at Loomis has been deeply enriched by learning different perspectives on a personal level. I encourage everyone to embrace diversity and recognize its strengths, as it has significantly impacted me and taught me far more than I could ever learn in a classroom or on my own.