Celebrating Differences

Barbara
Barbara Wolf Shousha, UNHS Director

Recently my best friend and I celebrated a special birthday together! It was fun and exciting and a wonder that we even pulled it off. Rarely do you find two friends more different than my best friend and I. She loves adventure while I love the quiet life. She is a night owl; I am a morning person. Her idea of a great birthday included sky-diving and riding roller coasters. My thoughts tended toward art galleries or a contemplative retreat.

Science has proven the benefits of diversity over and over again. In biology, greater diversity leads to healthier ecosystems and increased sustainability. Science also informs us that there are social benefits to diversity as well. The publication, Scientific American, cites research showing that interacting with others different from us requires us to prepare better, anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that effort will be required to reach agreement.

This was certainly the case in celebrating our birthdays! Together, we traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We were within driving distance of both nightlife and nature. I spent a terrifying afternoon on a ski lift up into the mountains and navigated steep trails on horseback. She indulged me with an afternoon of viewing pottery and a quiet nature walk. We each had experiences we would never have had on our own. Our differences became a source of humor and memories that will last forever. Believe it or not, we both enjoyed the other’s chosen activities, because our different preferences helped us experience things we would not have otherwise.

UNHS courses feature much diversity across the disciplines. In each of the areas of study, there are many different types of courses for whatever your passions are. Check out Biology, World Cultures, Multicultural Literature, International Relations and more.

I hope you have many reasons to celebrate differences in life!

 

 

Phillips, K. (2014) How Diversity Makes us Smarter. Scientific American.  Retrieved from

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/

Author: University of Nebraska High School

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