The underlying theme of holiday cheer? Bringing people together. Honestly, that kind of attitude is pretty much 365 (days) here at Berkeley. Therefore, I felt it would be appropriate to blog about the awe inspiring "melting pot" here at Cal that inspires me during the holidays (since I have time to reminisce on the blessed environment that I seem to overlook sometimes because of my busy schedule).
Growing up, my family was one the only ethnic families in my neighborhood. The middle school and later, high school I attended was not very culturally or ethnically varied. Before being admitted to Cal I always heard about the famous Berkeley "melting pot". Only now have I fully began to understand what this phrase means.
I'm in my sophomore year here at Cal (i'm not sure if i've mentioned that, but a reminder never hurts :)) and I have been living in an apartment with 2 roommates. My roommates and I have radically different beliefs and ideological perspectives on life. 3 years ago I could never have imagined living so peacefully with people that hold beliefs that are so different than my own. Berkeley has taught me this appreciation of diversity.
Any outsider can see that the students at Cal all have very strong and differing opinions. However, Cal is special. While we all share different beliefs and ideas, like me and my roommates, we have learned to voice our opinions while respecting those of the opposition. I do not mean opposition in a negative sense. Everyone has the right to their own opinions and every opinion is subjective. There is no right and no wrong in an opinion.
This respect is, in my opinion, a pride thing at Cal. We all respect each other, and while we may hold extremely different views from each other, we are family. My father used to tell me an old saying in Farsi that never resonated with me until this year. The translation of his words in english is the following: An opinion does not have any meaning if there is no other opinion that opposes it. In other words, while we may not agree with other people's opinions, our own opinions would have no meaning if there wasn't a conflicting opinion that stood in its opposition. This saying is the foundation of the respect we have for each other's opinions here at Cal, and also the foundation of the respect that my roommates and I have for each other.
In my own opinion Cal is representative of those who are exceptional, and come from all different cultures and backgrounds. It is a multilingual and multicultural environment. Yet at the same time it manages to "keep the peace". This respect is a part of our Cal pride, in my opinion.
I wrote this blog as a token of that Cal pride that I feel during the holidays. I also wrote this blog as an intention to remind even the Cal students of this respect we should always have for our fellow students, because we really are fortunate to attend a university that represents a "melting pot" of opinions and people.
I know my blogs have been rather "inspirationally driven", but I have been very inspired this semester. Hopefully some of my enthusiasm and revelations can help you all in your everyday endeavors to survive finals and whatever else you may be facing in your lives, currently.
As always, GO BEARS!