College education expands, changes minds

College is a time to grow and explore.

A study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles showed strong percentage changes in students’ feelings on gay marriage, abortion and religious views during their first two years in college. Interestingly enough, the study showed the change in opinions was due more to peer influence than that of professors.

This is an encouraging statistic because it shows that colleges are still doing their job to educate students about the world around them.

In a society that increasingly values college as a ticket to a higher-paying career, it is comforting to know today’s students aren’t just going through the motions to get their degrees. Rather, they are using the exchange of ideas with their peers to analyze preconceived notions of right and wrong.

They are opening themselves up to differing viewpoints that may not have always been available to them. They are taking full advantage of the open marketplace of ideas that college creates. They aren’t shutting themselves off to new ideas but rather embracing them.

What makes college great is exposure to different things – different people, different personalities, different nationalities, etc. The greater the body of experience a student has to draw from, the better.

Regardless of the political leanings of students featured in the report, a change of opinion should be appreciated for what it is. Diversity breeds knowledge, and knowledge breeds change. A society that doesn’t realize this is doomed to fail.

News editor David Hall for the editorial board.