Ignoring Comfort Zones – Sam Henschel

My first year of college, I had unlimited opportunities to explore my interests and hobbies. In a diverse residence hall, I was able to meet people with different experiences than myself, and I joined student organizations that made the University of Wisconsin feel like home. Something I lacked, though, was the opportunity to engage in discussion about topics that confused me, such as religion. 

As a Political Science major, I am used to discussing an array of topics in class. Though my discussion sections were always engaging, I struggled to put myself in a position where I could talk to people with different opinions than my own, fearing discourse that would start debates or arguments. I hesitated to push myself out of my comfort zone and engage in discourse around current events and problems, especially in a spiritual sense.

Hearing nothing but good things about the Center for Religion and Global Citizenry, I decided to push myself to apply to be an Interfaith Fellow, an opportunity that I am ecstatic to have. Not only am I excited to discuss religious issues and work to help others understand these issues, but I am also looking forward to being in a space that discusses and celebrates different opinions and traditions.

 I went to a Catholic grade school and middle school, but I rarely had the opportunity to learn more about different faiths and their ritual practices. I currently consider myself an atheist. I find that I push myself away from religion as a whole, instead of trying to better understand religious convictions and practices. However, I am confident that as an Interfaith Fellow, I will have the opportunity to engage in these discussions and learning opportunities, and I am looking forward to learning more from my peers and their experiences.