Too often, I see young adults, my peers, cowering away from social interaction. I noticed this shift in how the generations communicate and have since made a conscious effort to seek out new experiences, rather than staying within my comfort zone.

Some of the greatest conversations I have had have been with strangers. In the same way, some of the greatest relationships I have are ones that I have cultivated from having intellectual conversations.

I have narrowed down my quest for knowledge into five resources that I have found to be most useful. After reading this, I challenge you to reach out and take full advantage of them.

Teachers

Your teachers and professors are in the teaching profession for a reason. They want to help you learn. I have never regretted asking a question, going to office hours, and asking a professor a question or two. Not only will you stand out from the rest of the class by showcasing your desire to learn, you will also most likely do better in the class. It is a win-win. There will be a few exceptions, but most professors are more than willing to address any and all questions you may have, whether they pertain directly to class material or not. You will be pleasantly surprised with how helpful they are. All you have to do is be brave enough to initiate a conversation, whether it be during class or office hours.

Parents

It can be hard to view your parents as once being exactly where you are in life right now, but I promise they were. Your parents, or any parental figures, want to see you succeed by any means necessary. They will do whatever they can to help you reach your goals. It would be foolish to not take complete advantage of such an encouraging and supportive resource. In addition to expanding your own knowledge, you will deepen your relationship with your parents by adding that intellectual aspect. Again, a win-win.

Friends with different views than you

Diversity is a wonderful thing, especially in friendships. Some of my closest friends are ones I hold different religious and political views with. Although it has the potential to spark heated debates and someone’s feelings getting hurt, it is all worth it to discover something new. These conversations are great learning experiences, as you can gauge your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your own views. By taking the time to hear a friend’s rebuttal to your opinions, you can strengthen your argument and be better equipped for handling similar situations you will undoubtedly encounter as you venture deeper into adulthood. It is also great to have these conversations with friends rather than strangers at first. It will most likely be a more pleasant debate because your friends will take your feelings into consideration more than a stranger would.

Elderly

If you think it is hard to imagine your parents as once being in your shoes, then trying to imagine your grandparents as spunky twenty-somethings may seem nearly impossible. Despite the obvious generational differences, the world we are growing up in is vastly different than the world our older generations grew up in. That is not to say that one is better than the other; they both have amazing strengths. It is convenient that what one generation seems to excel in, another needs help in. For example, it is no secret than Millennials are better at using technology than the Baby Boomers.  In the same way, older adults will jump at any opportunity they get to impart their expansive life experiences on the younger generations. You can learn so much from the elderly. All you have to do is ask.


RELATED: 4 Valuable Lessons Millennials Can Learn From the “Greatest Generation”


Strangers

To walk around all day oblivious to your surroundings, never stopping to strike up a conversation with a stranger, is no way to live. The way I see things is God put all humans on this earth, and the least we can do is try to meet as many of them as possible. As I said earlier, some of the most insightful and beneficial conversations I have ever had have been with complete strangers. The easy thing about this resource is that it is never ending. There are always new people to meet, and new conversations to be had. The next time you are out shopping, at the gym or grocery store, muster up the courage to initiate a conversation with someone else; you will not be disappointed.

Miranda C
CONTRIBUTOR