Shifting Worldviews

Three students share how college has broadened their views

by Madison Garner

Whitworth’s mission of an education of mind and heart sometimes takes the form of changing students’ worldviews. Three students said their worldviews changed as a result of their time at Whitworth, in ways such as increased global awareness and seeing issues in a broader picture to gaining greater tolerance.

Global Awareness

For freshman Andrea Hunter, her time in college so far has increased her understanding of global perspectives. She came to Whitworth not completely sure where she stood on many issues, but now has a greater sense of where she stands, she said.

The way of life for people in African countries is something Hunter said she did not fully understand before.

“My African Life and Culture class showed me we don’t really understand Africa as general people,” Hunter said. “We assume they are primitive and living in tribes and fighting people all the time and that is not the case at all. What happened is Europeans ruined them and they are trying to build their society back up.”

Multiple lectures and classes have helped to increase her global awareness, Hunter said. The classes that made the biggest difference were her sociology and psychology classes. They helped her understand the root of global, she said.

“I think [my global perspective change] will progress throughout college with the nature of this school,” Hunter said.

General Picture

Senior Mason Vigil said college broadened his perspective on issues.

“Going to college and getting older and maturing a lot, I look at things in a much bigger picture now and see how my decisions affect people in a more general way,” Vigil said.

In high school, Vigil said he believed things because of what his friends and family believed. That line of thinking is called conventional thinking — when individuals act because they have been told to do so by family, Vigil said.

“At that stage in my life, I was at a conventional level of thinking, which developmentally and maturity-wise was the level I was supposed to be at,” Vigil said.

During his four years at Whitworth, Vigil said he has been moving toward post-conventional thinking, in which individuals see issues in a bigger view.

The two biggest things that influenced his change in perspective were growing older and maturing, as well as many professors challenging him to think through his beliefs and see the larger picture, Vigil said.

“It’s definitely the Whitworth professors and Whitworth in general that has really helped me develop and push me into that post-conventional phase,” Vigil said.


British international student Matt Hancock said college increased his tolerance and open-mindedness. Hancock said where he is from, many people think religion is a problem.

“People outside of America have preconceptions about religious Americans because they are on the TV, and you see the Westboro Baptist Church,” Hancock said. “That’s mainly the perspective we have on religion in America. It’s very extreme.”

Hancock lives in a dorm among Christians who support homosexual marriage, legalization of marijuana and who are pacifists, he said.

“It’s made me realize there isn’t one way to worship God or follow Christianity,” Hancock said.

On political issues, Hancock said he is often more supportive of America while some of his friends in Britain express disdain toward America.

“When someone posts on Facebook about Obama thinking about arming Syria rebels, there’s a lot of anti-U.S. sentiment about how there must be oil there, that sort of thing, very bullish,” Hancock said. “[My experience at college] made me more tolerant of how people really think in America.”

Hancock said he now sees social issues from other perspectives more often. Part of this came from his experience on the debate team, where he sometimes did not get a say on what he debated.

“Because I am talking from perspectives I never even considered, I feel more open-minded toward them,” Hancock said.

Hancock attributes his worldview changes to experiencing many different viewpoints at Whitworth.

“It was through living every day in the shoes of other Christians at Whitworth,” Hancock said. “No one can really pass judgment until they experience what you guys experience. I came to Whitworth for a year, I do what other people do, and [my perspective] changed a lot.”

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