Cultural Diversity and Identity Formation on Campus

cultural diversity and identity formation on campus

You must know that the college years are not just a period of academic growth. It is also a transformative phase in a person’s life. This is exactly when the discovery of self-identity takes center stage. 

Psychologists say that campus life acts as a microcosm of the broader world. It actually presents a unique opportunity for students to navigate their identities. And at the same time they are exposed to a plethora of experiences, cultures, and beliefs.

What’s more, modern campuses are melting pots of diversity. Students come from various:

  • Backgrounds
  • Cultures
  • Religions
  • Socio-economic statuses
  • Orientations 

This diversity is not just about where one comes from. It’s much broader. Basically, it’s also about the vast array of thoughts, beliefs, and values that individuals bring along with them.

And interacting with such a varied group is very beneficial. It offers students the opportunity to broaden their horizons and challenge their preconceived notions. All this actually shapes their own identity more holistically.

By the way, amid this journey of self-discovery and identity formation, many students find it therapeutic and enlightening to pen down their experiences.

And in this case, personal narratives are a fantastic way to reflect, introspect, and convey one’s journey. Luckily, for those who might be unfamiliar with crafting such essays or are in search of inspiration, there are resources available.

In particular, the personal narrative essays examples by EduBirdie provide numerous samples on a diverse range of essay topics. Exploring these can give students an idea about many thighs, including:

  • Structuring their narratives
  • Choosing the right topic
  • Drawing from their campus experiences to create compelling tales

Diversity On Campus 

diversity on campus

What is a good thing about diversity? It brings in a wealth of perspectives. When students from various backgrounds share their stories, beliefs, and viewpoints, it basically creates a robust learning environment.

And that’s not all. It challenges pre-existing notions and biases, fostering critical thinking and empathy. So as a result, students are exposed to global perspectives that go beyond textbooks. This actually prepares them for a world that is interconnected and diverse.

Of course, having a diverse student population is one thing. But creating an inclusive space is another.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure that every student feels welcomed, valued, and heard? Institutions should do it. And this involves developing programs that celebrate different cultures, festivals, and histories.

Additionally, workshops and training sessions can be introduced to students. What for? To promote understanding and counteract prejudice.

Identity Formation

At the heart of identity formation lies the question: “Who am I?” This involves understanding one’s:

  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Goals
  • Affiliations 

It’s a synthesis of different aspects of oneself, including:

  • Gender 
  • Racial and ethnic identity
  • Social roles
  • Personality traits, and more

Factors Influencing Identity Formation

So you are probably wondering what affects your identity. There are actually many things, some of which are listed below. 

Personal Experiences

Personal triumphs, traumas, relationships, and other life events shape one’s self-concept and self-worth.

Cultural and Social Context

The culture, traditions, and societal norms one is exposed to influence how one perceives oneself and one’s place in society.

Peers and Community

Friends, schoolmates, and community play a huge role, especially during teenage years, in molding beliefs, values, and self-perception.

Family Influence

The family’s beliefs, values, and dynamics often serve as a foundation for an individual’s identity.

Physical Changes

Puberty and other physical developments can influence self-perception and body image, which are components of one’s overall identity.

The Role of Student Organizations

Student life on campus wouldn’t be possible without student organizations.  When students join organizations that align with their interests, beliefs, or cultural background, they find a community that resonates with them.

For instance, an LGBTQ+ alliance can provide a safe space for students to express and understand their sexual or gender identity. And it’s quite important, isn’t it?

Being part of such a group validates their feelings and experiences a lot. It reinforces their sense of self in different situations. 

No doubt, college offers numerous avenues for self-discovery. But it also brings challenges to one’s sense of identity.

Like what? Students might grapple with societal expectations, peer pressure, or even their own uncertainties. And all this is related to the question who they are and who they wish to become.

Furthermore, individuals from marginalized or minority groups may face additional challenges. Why?  Because they basically navigate spaces where their identities might be underrepresented or misunderstood.


​​Author’s Bio

Carly Benson is a life coach and researcher in the past. She works with young people to help them shape their identity the way they like it. Carly believes that self-growth is one of the most important things we should focus on in life.

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