Challenge Accepted?

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In my RA class we had to go to two cultural events that were OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE. When I speak going ‘out of your comfort zone’ then I mean it. Most people think that they are culturally tolerant, but they participate with different cultures that fits them or are similar and not too different for them to handle. However, my RA class encouraged us to find an organization or religious event that is the opposite of our culture or belief to participate in.

I chose to go to a club event for Young Life, which a Christian based youth group that would conflict with my Islamic faith. However, I LOVED IT! I am not going to lie that I didn’t feel weird for a second, but I encourage everyone to choose an opposite religion to understand another mindset. My roommate Cameron was so encouraging and welcomed my with her friends at Young Life. You would have thought that we are opposite in our faith, but we actually found things we shared. ┬áMost of the time one can find similarities. Now that I have participated in Young Life ONCE, I have gained great friends that still want to remain in contact, even though I remain Muslim.

This experience gave me a new perspective. I can remain strong in my faith, but can stand in a church knowing that people still welcome me. The world just needs to be more tolerant of each other because I just see people argue how right they are and how they must prevail. Why not just let everyone be? Let everyone have their religion, culture, language, sexual orientation! The world would be a better place where everyone would work towards being part of each others’ cultures and lives rather than destroying it and distancing ourselves from one another.

Therefore I CHALLENGE you to do something WAY OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE and to tell me your experience (:

Comment if you have ever gone out of your way to understand something super different.



17 Responses to “Challenge Accepted?”

  1.   llawson Says:

    I think that his experiment also shows how a simple immersion experience can help clear up a lot of misperception. If both parties are willing, this type of interaction can be quite beneficial as it was in your case. I love how you made the point that you thought there would be some sort of conflict, but in reality you made some new friends. Seeing as I have done the project for the same purpose as wel, I can imagine that you had some anxiety going into the experience as well. I know that getting over that anxiety and actually going out and getting educated about others’ lifestyles was certainly worth it for me (and it seems like with you as well), and I encourage everyone reading this to consider doing an activity like this even if it is for your own personal growth!

  2.   mkinsey Says:

    I’ve been to several bat & bar mitzvahs in my day, and they are always an interesting experience. I personally am non-religious (though my family is Presbyterian), so you could definitely say these are out of my comfort zone. I think when you enter any religious institute and don’t know -or agree with- their values and rituals, the situation quickly becomes uncomfortable. However, while I know very little about Judaism, Hebrew, or the Torah, I do understand the phenomena of overlap that still exists. When I attend one of these special coming-of-age celebrations, I can see the happiness of the family and feel the excitement of the newly-announced young adult. And that’s just being human =)

  3.   rcoda Says:

    Growing up in an interracial household, I acquired different viewpoints, cultures, and backgrounds. My Mom is an African American woman from Oklahoma and my Dad is an Italian from Rhode Island….VERY DIFFERENT (to say the least). I think what helped me embrace both cultures was acknowledging the similarities, not just the dissimilarities. Both of those cultures embrace and emphasize the importance of family and unity, always sticking together, loyalty to one another, spending time with loved ones. Embracing the cultures, although very different, has helped me to better understand my parents (and their behaviors, mannerisms, etc) and it has also helped me to embrace who I am!

  4.   mfuerst Says:

    In my religion class last semester (which I would totally recommend, Human Religous Experience) we had to do three of these immersion events. I went to a Jewish service held by Hillel for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a lecture on Respecting Women in Islamic Culture with the Muslim Student Association, and lastly, I went to a Buddhist class on meditation. I felt so lucky to have been welcomed at each event and it warmed my heart that people were so quick to share their culture with me. Mason is just an awesome place to learn about different religions, life-views, cultures, etc.!

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