stronger together
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Despite different political ideologies, astronomically high college tuitions, crime and war, world hunger, climate change, racism, sexism, homophobia, terrorism and everything else that’s wrong with the world, there’s still hope.

After six semesters as an opinion columnist for our University’s newspaper, The Daily Reveille, I’ve accumulated numerous life lessons. Throughout the past few years, I’ve made it a priority to call out wrongdoings and injustices I’ve noticed within our community, country and world. Many times this has caused people to label me a pessimist, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I see an immense amount of love, beauty and potential in our world.   

Some days it can be easy to lose hope in humanity, but it’s imperative we remind ourselves people are naturally good. If you continuously hold the connotation people are born evil then it’ll always remain difficult to see what’s good in the world.

Like everyone, I’m not perfect. Sometimes it's difficult for me to see humanity for how great it is. When I’m feeling hopeless, I remind myself the world is immense and full of opportunity and growth. An adviser once told me, “wake up and strive to be your best you.” With keeping that quote in mind, it’s allowed me to create some life rules all people could benefit from.

Whatever you end up doing in doing in life, always remember this world is no more yours than it is the person’s next to you. If you become that big time CEO, always treat the janitor with the same respect you’d treat your business partner. Remain respectful of other’s and their opinions at all times because you’re not entitled to anything and people don’t always owe you something. Some people may have less than you but they aren’t less than you. Work toward the betterment of humanity, fight for what’s right and be the voice of action.

Don’t get lost in your selfishness — try your best to be as empathic and compassionate as possible because everyone faces their own daily trials and tribulations. Your problems will never be the only ones that matter. As hard as it may be for people, especially myself, forgive and release grudges.

Whether you’re rich or poor, big or small, black or white, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim, everyone has a death day. We will all die and you’ll be able to bring absolutely nothing with you — we’re more alike than we are different. Be thankful and blessed for what you have because tomorrow isn’t promised for anybody. Strive to live your best life and value everyday as if it were your last.

Make it a goal to travel as there’s so much outside of Louisiana and the U.S. Explore other cultures and expose yourself to others lifestyles. Don’t ever get too comfortable, strive to break out of your comfort zone.   

Educate yourself on matters and make informed decisions, and once you do, help educate others. There’s always something new that can be learned. Don’t create your mindset based on what your parents believe or what’s deemed as tradition or normal. If you’re not sure why something may offend a certain person, ask. As my dad always says, “ignorance is not a crime – the crime is the lack is intellectual curiosity.”

Ultimately, be kind to people. Smile at strangers, converse with those who may not share your same beliefs and strive to build great character. If we all seek to share and follow these rules on a daily basis, the future of our world is bright. Despite our many differences, the good in the world can outweigh the bad if we world together. We are, indeed, stronger together.    

Clarke Perkins is a 21-year-old political science senior from New Orleans, Louisiana.

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