"Broadening your Horizons"

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
"Broadening your Horizons"
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:41pm
Okay, I've been scanning through the posts below, and this is something that has grabbed my attention. There are those here who seem to believe that you can only broaden your horizons by going to college or joining the peace corps or military. It also seems that doing so as a young person (directly out of high school) is preferable.

So, I'm curious about how people feel these things actually "broadened their horizons", and how that has benefited them in their lives so far. I'm also curious how you feel this has benefited you more so than someone who might have opted out of college/military/peace corps.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14


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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:20pm
I learned a lot from my years in the military and also the years after I got out as a military wife. The broadening came from living in places and meeting people that I would never have met otherwise. As a comparison my older sister has lived in one town her entire life, I have lived in three countries, 6 states and at probably at least a dozen cities. Among other things it has taught me to look at things from a lot of different view points.

I have no way of knowing how it benefited me more then someone else who made different choices, I only know that I am a better person then I would have been if I had never left Michigan.

Avatar for biancamami
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 10:22pm
College ABSOLUTELY broadened my horizons in ways I can't even measure! Not only was my University in New York City, which is one of the most diverse places in the world, but it's the intellectual stimulation that I received from being among some brilliant scholars that made me see the world from a completely different perspective.

When I went away to College, I thought I was pretty darn smart. Little did I know I was a big fish in a SMALL pond. It took me about two weeks of classes to realize that I was one of HUNDREDS of other students that felt the same way! We were all humbled to realize that in this environment we were just *normal* and *average*!!! I met students and professors who BLEW MY MIND with the depth of their intelligence, knowledge and experience. I mean, when someone is telling you "I remember the time Allen Ginsberg was.." it makes you pay attention. I felt absolutely provincial!

I remember my first major poetry reading, the first time I stepped into a jazz club in the Village, the first time I took the Subway by myself, the first time I watched a live opera, a broadway show...the first time I saw a Van Gogh painting UP CLOSE and personal.

College was also the time when I saw "the other side." I volunteered in the inner city and spent many hours traveling from housing project to housing project...I saw the disparity of the life some of my "preppy" college classmates led and of the teens that we counseled. These were the years I had the time to do things like this... before marriage and children.

And finally, I was exposed to so many different people....all kinds of races, religions, cultures, political inclinations. I saw protests on campus and heated debates. How has this benefited me? I can't even measure! Let's just say that this experience has helped shape me into the person I am. I became more tolerant, compassionate, thoughtful, confident, and open-minded...

When I came home that first summer I didn't only feel like a different person..I was a different person! I wouldn't trade these experiences for the world....

Edited 4/4/2003 11:27:06 PM ET by biancamami

Avatar for cyndiluwho
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 10:26pm
College was of major benefit to me. Taught me I didn't know beans. Once you figure out how little you know, you can start working to build something. College exposes you to ideas that you are unlikely to encounter in life if you are uneducated. If not in content in volume. College is a molding experience where you get to mold yourself. It can be hard to take at times though. The literary analysis we did of the book of Genesis in my comparative religion class pretty much destroyed my belief in the Bible as the word of God. That was pretty hard for a Baptist girl to take. My instructor told me then that she hadn't destroyed my beleif structure but rather freed me to believe. It took me about 10 years to start to understand what she meant. College, definitely, broadened my horizons. There wasn't much left of the girl who walked onto campus the day I walked off with my degree in hand.
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Registered: 03-31-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 11:16pm
I don't feel as I am braodening my horizons so much as I am fufilling a dream and a goal of mine since I graduated. I am actully going back to college after a 7 year and 3 children break. This is something I do on my own. I was a horrible high school student, hated ever moment unless I was performing with our school choir or writing for the fiction magazine. I started college after high school mainly in part because neither of my parents had a college degree and it was important for me to be the one to do it. Now however, it is more important to just follow through with my dream of having that degree. Will I ever do anything with it? Hopefully. It is also important that I show my children that their goals and dreams are not out of reach. It demonstrates to them that if they want something bad enough then they should go after it and if they do not achieve, then it will not be for lack of trying. I have learned how to better understand some of the things that are happening in the world, how people relate to eachother the way that they do and how to better communicate will people from all walks of life. It has taught me that my near failure in high school in no way compares to my successes in college, that my children value education cause they see someone they love valuing education. The things that I learn help me to be more tolerant of others, my children, strangers, and people on the other side of the globe because I have a better understanding of how they live and why they live in the manner in which they do.

Maybe it is not a matter of broadening horizons but it is form of educating ourselves and in turn educating our children.


Avatar for taylormomma
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Registered: 03-23-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 11:37pm
Well, I'm not one of those people, but I would say that going to college broadened my horizons simply because it was a glimpse into a different world. You don't get much exposure to academics outside of a college environment. I got enough exposure to decide once and for all that I didn't want to be one, lol. But I think college also provides an opportunity to be exposed to a lot of different perspectives and options that it's hard to find in the working world. While you're in college, your options are endless.

I have to say, though, that for me personally, it was working that "broadened" me the most (and I'm not just talking about my rear, although it did that too). Aside from discovering talents I don't think I would have discovered otherwise, I worked for an international company and got the opportunity to travel to and live in other countries that I wouldn't have had otherwise. And I worked with people from all over - when I first started that job, our President was French, our receptionist was from the Honduras, our programmers were from Israel, our General Manager was from India, our Traffic manager was from Chile and her assistant was from Mexico. I was one of only three American citizens in the office, and the only one born here and the only one with English as a first language. Now, THAT was an experience.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 12:56am
I've been really lucky in that I come from a migrant family and was always brought up with the knowledge that the world is a lot bigger than my own personal horizons. I am also lucky in that I live in a very multicultural society where you can get to know a lot about the experiences of people all over the world. So that helps.

I've broadened my horizons a lot by simply reading, being informed, getting to know a variety of people and accepting that I don't have all the answers. I think that helps. I've had a lot more life experience than many college graduates I know, who've gone straight from their study desks to office desks. I know that I would benefit from travelling, simply in terms of giving me more experience of other people. I've only traveled to the UK.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 3:38am
I didnt go to college until later, but I also didnt get married at 18yo. I chose to go to travel school and worked for an airline. I spent my 20's seeing the world, experiencing other cultures, trying new things, and just generally having a wonderful time. I wouldnt be who I am today if I had not *broadened my horizons* in this way.

My issues are less about going to college and more about having children when you are still basically an unformed child yourself. I dont doubt you are a good mom, but overall, there are very very few 19yo's who are really emotionally ready to be a decent parent. Some people are *never* ready of course, but I think that the simple fact that we change SO much between 20 and 30 should give us pause in regards to bringing children into the world too soon. Heck, I didnt feel like I really *knew* myself until my early 30's. And I am very glad I had all my years of being single and taking care of ONLY me, having ONLY me to rely on-because it gave me a lot of security and confidence in my ability to take care of myself. One thing I am not afraid of is being alone and/or having to take care of myself.

I do wish I would have gone to college and at least gotten my b.a. before now. It isnt any more difficult for me mentally (school comes very easy for me and always has), but I'm certainly more tired and have less stamina. Plus now I have 2 kids and a husband to worry about-school takes time away from them. It would have been easier if I'd have just gotten my degree right out of school. I could have still done my traveling, but now I'd be finishing up my masters instead of being *almost* done with my b.a.!!!



"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 6:31am
Well, as I have read through just a few posts on this issue, I think I am ready to answer.

*Broadening your Horizons*

Is it just a matter of realizing that there is more to life than what you have experienced? Is it, taking a step back and taking in the *bigger picture*? Gaining new perspective on life? Seeing new insight from the people around you? Growing out of your old perception of life and taking in something new?

I believe personally it is a mindset, not anything in the college water supply. I also believe most people generally start getting this mindset around typical college age (18-25.) I think that because college is typical for that age, it is very easy to say that college enlightened you in ways other than the classwork. For most people, this is the first time they leave home. The first time they must be self-sufficient. The first time they are approached with a more diverse population than what they have known. And, the first time in life you may realize that you in fact, as a teenager, did not know it all. Your former relationships with friends are fading away as your entire world is tipped and you make new ones. Your parents, who previously had a curfew, and a scrutinizing eye towards your boyfriend/gf is out of the way. You are free. You have a huge task in front of you and you face it boldly. Ideas overflow your mind.

With your newfound freedom, you take notice of the world in a whole different light. Can you really say that when you stepped off campus, got married, and had a child it was not *broadening*? If it weren't, you would not smile to yourself when you pass by a swollen-ankled first time pregnant mother and her anxieties. And as your child grows, and your marriage progresses, how is that not enlightening? If it were not, we would not as a society take such celebration in anniversary milestones, would we? Have you never read a book, a poem, a lyric that enlightened you? When you first signed on to the internet, and found yourself chatting with someone in Japan or Idaho and realize that the world is a small place?

Being on campus, and travel, almost forces you to become enlightened to the world. Why can't a person gain this through non-ordinary means? If you have the mindset to broaden your horizons, you will do it. College or not. Travel or not.

Knowledge is not expensive, ideas are free. Philosophy will cost you $2 for a domestic beer when you stand along the barkeep. Psychology is everywhere. You just have to see it!

Avatar for outside_the_box_mom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 6:36am
Living in a working class or "blue collar" neighborhood broadened my horizons.

Going to college, however, turned me into a snob.

I come from blue collar, but once I started attending college, I became a snob. Learned the "right" foods to eat, how to drink coffee and have intellectual conversations, how to read literuature and discuss it.

Oh yes, I met and shared food with people of "diverse" cultures. But, I secretely shared many of the same supercillious views I've read on this board -- those with money, education, and intellegence were "better." I was going to be one of them. I turned my back on my blue-collar upbringing and spent considerable time and money learning how to be and look "white collar," educated, and intellectual.

My divorce and my subsequent move from the snooty Silicon Valley to a working class neighborhood in Mass set my head back on straight. I realized I knew quite a number of people who have worked their asses off as "laborers" but who had far more class than I ever would. They certainly didn't have the "SES" and "broadened outlook" (re: snobbery) that I've read about on this board -- and wonder of wonders, their children turned out to be good adults, even without piano and French lessons. (Imagine!)

I'm proud of my college education, and I still enjoy being an intellectual. I'll never give up formal learning. But I learn more about life everyday just hanging with the 'hood then I ever did in the marble towers.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2001
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 8:09am
Alright, this isn't going to help, but...

I broadened my horizons by going to college AND joining the military. I'd barely left my home town when I graduated from HS. My parents didn't travel, so I'd gone as far as NC when I was 7 (we lived in PA). I wanted to see more than PA, and college and the military was my way to do it.

You can always broaden your horizons with travel - if you can afford it. You can do it by reading. But to REALLY experience it - you have to *do* it.

Most of what I've seen and done has been related to the Navy and to college. Even being in California - I'm here because dh decided to go back to school for a PhD.