By Katrina Liu

“Inspire and be inspired.”

It’s a quote I’ve lived by for most of my teenage years. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by people who have done wonderful things, including my parents, who are the embodiment of success born from sacrifice; my friends, whose bright ideas and perspectives; my brother, who is so incredibly driven and hardworking (but I’ll never say that to his face) and countless other individuals. 

Since coming to college, I’ve met people who have impacted me in one way or another —  whether it be former classmates I wave to on Commonwealth Ave., or friends who have seen me at my best and worst. Hearing about people’s backgrounds and their perspectives on different aspects of life is extremely rewarding, and also proves the true diversity of a student body.

It’s nice to connect with people over similar experiences, but I’ve come to realize that it’s even better to talk to people who don’t agree with you or to people who haven’t gone through the same things you have. Listening carefully when someone explains why they disagree with us may be the best way to learn and to widen our perspectives; those conversations with people who aren’t like you and who haven’t gone through the same things as you are valuable in the sense that it transforms you into a well-rounded person.

Understanding other people’s life stories as well as offering your own is swapping knowledge. It’s beneficial to both people, and it establishes a sense of trust and connection. I find that I’ve learned the most about myself when I’m listening to other people talk about themselves. 

We’re not going to be in college forever, just like the people we love aren’t going to be here forever. It’s on us to be the messengers of knowledge in this world. We must take the things we learn from others, channel it into ourselves and then pass it onto future generations. In everything we do and in everything we say, we are imprinting something on others. It’s an extremely powerful concept and it’s our job, with our time here, to ensure that we leave the world a better place than it was when we first got here. 

So, I encourage you to listen to others. But really listen and reflect. At a university like Boston University, we should feel privileged to be around people who can offer such diverse perspectives. Take advantage of it. 

Listen, learn and pass it on.