On any given day, over the clat­tering of sil­verware and hum of friendly con­ver­sation in the cafe­teria, groups of stu­dents sit over their meals between classes, occa­sionally taking enough time in between talking points to raise a fork-full of food to their mouths.

It’s not unheard of to over­heard acquain­tances sparing, gripping with white-knuckled fists onto pillars of thology, phi­losophy, or any subject humans have sought to wrap our minds around for thou­sands of years.

When approached with humility, these impromptu daily debates are a beau­tiful thing.

From the moment we step on campus, dis­cussion about these lofty topics is not just allowed, but encouraged. And despite a rep­u­tation for being a mecca of con­ser­v­ative thought and study, we have strong, intel­ligent stu­dents across the spectrum of reli­gious and political ide­ology, from the bois­terous #Prager­Force to avid socialists.

Though the con­ver­sa­tions become just another step toward fin­ishing our busy days, it is within these con­ver­sa­tions that we have an oppor­tunity to nurture our rela­tion­ships and our minds while we do the same to our bodies.

It is fine to debate, to discuss dif­fering opinions on ideas, with or without reaching shared middle ground. But in order to garner any­thing from a dis­cussion other than red, sweaty faces, con­ver­sa­tions should be approached with kindness and respect, granting others the same validity that we grant our­selves.

Don’t pass up the abundant learning oppor­tu­nities Hillsdale has to offer outside the classroom. Relin­quish the white-knuckled grip without giving up your beliefs and have con­ver­sa­tions with people you dis­agree with.