The Beauty of the Unknown


As I tell people that I’m pursuing a Global Leadership Certificate, their first questions pertain to what I’m doing and why it’s relevant to my career. Many people don’t understand the need to relate to issues all around the world, and come together as leaders to learn about them as well as from them. Since we are currently studying the Middle East, many people just can’t understand how this affects us. These are some of the biggest reasons why people choose not to study other cultures, especially the Middle East.

I just don’t get it

The conflict in the Middle East is so in depth, dating back thousands of years. It’s almost impossible to learn every single detail about the Middle East from beginning to end and become an expert overnight. As a society, when we don’t know something, we generally just quit altogether in order to avoid failure.

We can still teach ourselves what’s going on piece-by-piece, asking questions as we go. If I was to only learn one thing during my time in the GLC, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that it’s OK not to know, in fact, it’s encouraged. It’s OK to say, “I saw this piece of information, and I just have no idea what they’re talking about.” It’s important to recognize the lack of knowledge, ask questions, and then do what you can to learn about it.

It’s too distant of information

When we hear about a car bombing or air strike, we’re not there to experience the pain, the agony and the loss. We don’t have to live in fear of bombing or air raids, we’re sitting far away in the comfort of our own homes watching this on the news.

My response to this mindset is that although we are distanced, we can still bring ourselves closer to the situation. I like to imagine myself in the situation as if I was there as I digest the information. Being far away from an issue doesn’t make it any less important. As we’ve seen this semester, issues that are going on thousands and thousands of miles away can still be brought to campus and made relevant.

It doesn’t matter to me

Well to this, I simply say you’re wrong. I used to think this way too, but it does matter and it is important. Personally, I think that people who think like this generally think one of two things. One, they don’t want to learn about it because everything they see in the news is so violent. Two, they don’t understand the information and push it off. We need to look past the negative news stories and do our own research. There are so many interesting stories and discoveries in the Middle East that most people don’t know. With the good then comes the bad. Once we begin to realize through the good information that the Middle East does matter to us, we become more likely to find interest in the negative news as well.

In a way, as the uninformed students in America, we have an advantage. There’s a beauty in not knowing. The questions and uncertainty help you to dive in to each situation, learning about current events with a whole new perspective than someone who’s been following the history of the Middle East. Being uninformed is never a bad thing; it’s what you choose to do with the lack of knowledge that really matters.

Sources: ‘Blood’ bucket challenge

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12 thoughts on “The Beauty of the Unknown

  1. Jess I love this!! It is so hard to explain to people why you are studying the Middle East. Especially, within my group of friends not many of them are the least bit interested and it is hard to even bring up the conversation. Starting this class, notably, the first few weeks I could barely do anything but sit in silence trying to take all of the information in that my classmates and teachers were saying, but as the weeks go on I feel as if someone actually sat down with me I could tell them a generous amount of information about the Middle East. I am so happy to be a part of something to unique and special and to have such a fantastic group of peers to be doing it with.

  2. Even after studying this topic for weeks I know I have still only hit the tip of the iceberg. I really like how you pointed out that people need to really do their research. Media can be biased and other people’s opinions influence your own. I really did not know much about the Middle East and any conflicts pertaining to the Middle East until this class and now I feel like I can start to form my own opinion on the matter. I think awareness and education are the best ways to inform people on topics going on around the world.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! I think it speaks beautifully on the idea of being globally minded, and the importance of that to everyone, no matter their major. I too have had to explain what the GLC is and how it pertains to my educational goals and have met with many questions. I can honestly answer without a doubt that this class has improved my knowledge and cultural understanding of the Middle East, which is a topic that is sadly very misunderstood in our culture. I’m very much looking forward to all of the mind-expanding experiences to come with the GLC program!

  4. Whenever I bring up my education with someone, I always find a way to put the plug in for GLC. I didn’t realize at first how much this class would affect me, but it already has so much. I do try to embrace the unknown, because there is still a lot of questionable topics that I don’t quite understand. When I look back at how much I have learned in the past weeks, I know that I am getting somewhere. While we are not personally experiencing the issues that we discuss a lot of the time in class, they definitely are relevant to our lives, and I like to inform people about the reasons why. GLC truly is a wonderful program and I want others to be able to experience something like it.

  5. Even though I have now been in this class for seven weeks, I still tend to feel lost and confused with a lot of the information. Before this class, I had never put much thought in to the events going on in the world around us. I definitely think that people should take the time to understand because this information is extremely relevant to our lives even though some may not realize it!

  6. Even though we have been in class for awhile now, I still feel like I don’t have all of the information. It is hard to take sides on a topic you only just learned about. Before this class, I never knew what was happening in the Middle East. Learning about global issues really does make you a well rounded person.

  7. One thing I have learned is that it is okay to not know. There really is beauty in the unknown, it gives us a reason to learn and to explore. This post reassured me that I have so much to learn and for that I am excited. It is amazing to read how my peers think the same as well and with this we can all help each other strive to be globally educated. This post meant so much to me and I feel as if so many of us can relate and for that I thank you for writing this.

  8. Jess this is an awesome post! I think it’s awesome to outreach to people to show not just what we are doing at the GLC but why. This post makes me feel good about our program and the project. This breaks stereotypes and does a cohesive job of positively displaying the center/certificate. Love the post and your ideas about the project.
    BRAVO

  9. Reblogged this on Jessica Carnprobst and commented:

    Through my time in the GLC, I’ve learned so much, but most importantly, I’ve learned that it’s OK not to know. This certificate program has been the most amazing experience so far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the next two years!

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