If you went to a diverse high school, you may not have thought much of it, but your experiences there probably changed you for the better. Below are 12 invaluable qualities that you are likely to have gained by learning alongside students of different races, religious affiliations, cultures, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic levels.
1. You are politically aware.
Ever since the 2016 presidential election, young people all across the country are getting excited about politics and taking responsibility for the country that they will soon inherit. Your high school likely reflects the diversity of America today. What better environment is there to foster an interest in American politics? Whether you lean toward the left end or the right end of the political spectrum, you always stay in the know and cast your vote according to what you believe in.
Photo by Thomas Charters.
2. Your personal level of civic engagement is higher than average.
You may volunteer at a nursing home, go to church, write letters to your local lawmakers, or help out at an after-school program. No matter how you engage, you understand the importance of being an active participant in society.
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny.
3. You are familiar with the difficulties that students of low socioeconomic status face on a daily basis.
This holds true whether you live among the top 1%, below the poverty line, or anywhere in between. You have first-hand knowledge of the obstacles a young person must overcome to get an education when they lack financial resources or an at-home support system. If you haven’t experienced this yourself, it is likely that your lab partner, your teammate, or your club’s secretary has.
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny.
4. You are a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.
On June 27, 2015, the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. You celebrated gleefully that day but braced yourself for the seemingly endless battle for complete equality. You are not afraid to speak up for LGBTQ+ rights, for both close friends and strangers.
Photo by Jon Tyson.
5. You refuse to tolerate religious and racial intolerance.
You may not practice the same religion as all of your friends and peers. And you may not have been born in the same country. You may not be of the same race. Your view is that this as something to be celebrated. You refuse to allow the people around you to put each other down based on their faith, ethnicity, or culture, especially with everything happening in the world today. You understand that tolerance begins with one voice, and you make certain your voice is heard.
Photo by Nina Strehl.
6. You understand that not everyone is going to like you.
In this life, we are bound to run into people with whom our personality clashes. In a high school full of many different kinds of people, you may have experienced this once or twice. Thanks to your background, you accept this as a part of life, and you treat everyone around you with respect, no matter what.
Photo by Rémi Walle.
7. You are not afraid to ask questions.
Learning among a diverse group of people means that you were likely exposed to aspects of different cultures that you did not understand at first. You learned to ask respectful, appropriate questions to open dialogue between you and your peers so you both could learn more about each other.
Photo by Emily Morter.
8. You have excellent interpersonal communication skills.
Communicating with all kinds of people has taught you the importance of building a connection with everyone you meet. Employers in every industry value interpersonal communication skills, and the fact that you attended a diverse high school means that you are off to a great start in developing these skills.
Photo by rawpixel.com.
9. You constantly appreciate the aesthetic appeal of diversity.
A friend of mine remarked that upon walking down a high school hallway in Des Moines, IA, she heard at least five different languages flying back and forth. Diversity is exciting and beautiful, and you have come to appreciate this more than you ever thought you would.
Photo by Omar Lopez.
10. You understand that laughter is a universal language.
Laughter brings us closer together. You have may have witnessed language barriers disintegrate once a group of people began to enjoy themselves. Keeping things light in the face of a cultural hurdle helps everyone to grow closer together.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez.
11. You have strong opinions.
You are probably very outspoken and passionate about what you believe in, and your peers and teachers probably encouraged this. Whether you are an animal rights activist or a strong proponent for arts education in schools, you make your opinions known.
Photo by Josh Applegate.
12. You have an even stronger desire to discover and appreciate the opinions of others.
You love to debate, and you always make sure to listen to understand, and not just to respond. And you have developed a broad worldview is by interacting with people who differ from you in culture and beliefs, and you respect the opinions of all.
Photo by Matheus Ferrero.