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Becca Kaplan

Embrace the Different

by Becca Kaplan | Sep 12, 2017

Last week, I went to the VIA about religious differences, called “Sisters of Story,” if I remember correctly. It was about three women with three different belief systems: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. I was sitting about ten rows back, kind of towards the aisle, with one of my friends. About halfway through the presentation, I heard snickers and giggles coming from behind me; these three girls were disrespecting the entire event. For all that Manchester does to include everyone, encouraging all us Spartans to “be our best selves,” it’s a shame that some people want to stay stuck in the past.

After that encounter, it got me thinking about myself, and of my cultural background/experience. My name is Becca Grace Kaplan, and I am Caucasian; my dad’s family is Greek and German, while my mom’s side is split between Irish and Native American. I have a lot of different backgrounds, and my family is very big into their ancestry – especially the Greek part. I love being who I am, and partaking in different religious and cultural events. Being at a place like Manchester, though, that’s almost just as awesome. When I’m here, I can be whoever I want to be, and nobody will care. You see, the Manchester Spartan family is full of different people. We have students here from all over the world, practicing several different religions and cultures. Students have a place where they can be themselves, and can share who they are without worrying about being judged. I love how inclusive this campus is, and how much it values individual worth and success. Everyone, from Pres Dave, to the Chartwells workers, to our fellow classmates, wants to see us achieve our goals and do great things in life; not everyone gets that at home.

The VIA was powerful. Personally, I was moved to see three people be so proud of their religion, and to hear them tell the stories that made them grow in their faith. In some parts of the world, and even in the United States, people are sometimes afraid to speak out and share their beliefs in fear of persecution or discrimination. For anyone who may feel that way, know that I am here; I will not treat you any different just because of how you look or what you believe in. Just because a tiny sliver of our community doesn’t respect these differences, it doesn’t mean the entire community is the same way.

As I’ve said before, Manchester is a family. We are a close-knit group, and as much as we can dislike each other sometimes, in the end there’s no place we’d rather study. Some of us even wish we could stay at MU forever, we love it so much. It’s going to be a wonderful year on campus, everyone. Let’s try to make the most of it! Until next time. - B

Becca Kaplan ’19, is a Spanish Secondary Education major with minors in TESOL and Business. As a commuter student, she spends most of her time on campus either studying, watching Netflix, or writing her next blog post. When classes are not in session, Becca usually travels, either visiting her parents in Florida, or her extended family in St. Louis.

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