Blog Post #3: Changing Your Mind

Henry Devareaux Jr, protagonist of Richard Russo’s novel Straight Man, laments the decreasing relevance of an old English class standby: the persuasive paper. Why should we teach students to persuade, he asks, when no one wants to be persuaded of anything anymore?

I think Hank may have a point. We live in an era in which close-mindedness is seen by many as a virtue.  We develop our beliefs on politics, religion, and other areas of life fairly young, and we tend to stick to them for the rest of our lives. Studies have found that people tend to seek out information that backs up their previously established beliefs and discount anything that challenges those beliefs. (If you’re interested: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/23/confirmation-bias/)

Given these circumstances, it’s remarkable that anyone ever changes their mind. Yet people do it, every day. Whether it’s switching soft drink preferences or re-thinking your entire perception of a person, changing your mind can be an exciting, or even scary, experience. It can make you question everything about your life, or it can just make you see some things in a different light.

So I want you all to think about times you’ve changed your mind—about a friend, about a political issue, a religious doctrine, anything—and write about it. How did you come to change your mind? Who helped you to see things differently? And how were things different once you did? Around 200 words, due Sunday. Happy writings.

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23 thoughts on “Blog Post #3: Changing Your Mind

  1. A couple months ago I changed my mind about my eating habits. I never thought it would actually happen, but I decided to become a vegetarian. It all started with a documentary I watched called Forks Over Knives. It literally changed my perception about everything having to do with food and my lifestyle. I always knew that processed foods weren’t good for us etc. but I didn’t believe meat wasn’t good for you until I watched it. The documentary showed people beating cancer, diabetes, and other diseases and health problems by switching to a whole food, raw based diet. It also showed studies were mice were feed casein protein (found in milk) and the mice that consumed it showed cancer growth (versus the mice who didn’t have it and did not have cancer growth). Although this isn’t proven in humans it still made me think, A LOT. So the next day I started a vegetable based diet. Weeks and weeks past and it only got easier and easier. I gained more energy etc. and have not gone back to my old ways. I never thought I would have changed my mind about something like this, but I did. My mom even tried to convince me to change my mind and go back to eating animal products but I refused. The documentary that came to me randomly in Biology research has changed my life for good

  2. Growing up, my parents never forced any specific type of religion on me. They thought it would be best to allow me to declare my own religion once I was old enough to have my own opinions. I would randomly attend many of my friends Christian churches and this caused me to have faith and believe in a higher power. Things changed once I attended a performing arts high school, where many of the students that went there were atheists. This trend eventually caused me to question the existence of a god and essentially force me to reflect on my own beliefs. I’m not saying that I am atheist, but this idea of no god made me realize that I wasn’t going to church for myself, I was going to please other people. Once I came to this realization it really made me question life in general, which eventually lead me to go to a non-denominational church to get these questions I had answered. Overall, I am thankful for the kids at my high school due to them opening up another point of view that I had never considered. If it were not for them, I would of probably never attended church for myself and my own intentions.

  3. When first fantasizing about college as a high school student one of the main things I was excited about was dorm life. On TV and in movies you always see the students in dorms loving their life and having a great time. Everyone seemed so nice and clean and were always down to party. So once I got into Florida State I decided to live on campus……worse mistake ever! Over the summer I lived in Landis Hall, which was a decent dorm I guess. Though two of my four roommates drove me literally crazy. We still do not talk to this day. Living in such a small space with four other girls can turn any sweet heart to a crazy bitch. Then once fall came I had no other choice but to live on campus, because I had already committed. Luckily, my roommate is amazing BUT my dorm is for lack of better words a shit hole. This time around I have the perfect roommate but a horrible place. The girls are filthy! Not to mention we ALWAYS have roaches, and our AC unit is broken so it is either -40 or 500 degrees in our room. I literally am counting down the days till I move into my apartment. If living in a community and suite style dorm has taught me anything it is that people lack BASIC hygiene skills. It defiantly is an experience I will never forget and has added some very unique experiences to my college life so far.

  4. Changing what you think of certain subjects is simply impossible, but keeping an open mind is always important. There are many things such as religion and morals that I would never change what I think about them, but I still respect other people’s opinions and customs and would never go against them. Certain things as tastes and preferences on certain food, clothes, and things of this sort I would agree I could change what I think about them. One of the last things I can recall I changed my mind about, was the dining halls at FSU. Last semester I would enjoy eating at fresh foods and suwannee, but now I despise this freaking meal plan. Every time I go into fresh foods I just die a little knowing I have no other option but to eat there. The food is always the same, the chicken, meat, and fish are always seasoned with the same ingredients. There are no good desserts anymore, and the lady who makes the sandwiches is pissed at life and makes me lose my appetite with her attitude. I can’t wait until I have my own apartment next semester and cook whatever I want without anyone giving me an attitude about it.

  5. I do not know the extent to which Hank’s statement holds water- but I do know that I am not a stubborn person and when proven that a tradition or habit I have been following is inherently bad, I will cut it loose. I guess the most recent example of me acknowledging the fallacy in my ways would be this past Monday when I decided to buy a few pairs of boat shoes for my pledge attire. I never liked the look of the shoes, and really never had a reason to get them, until it was suggested by one of my close friends that I would need a pair of Sperry’s to fit the look of a fraternity brother. I kind of wanted to stick to my roots and blow off the advice, but after thinking a little bit about it, I realized it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to just get the shoes and look good. As it turns out, the shoes are surprisingly comfy and easy to throw on and get out the door. The change was good.

  6. As senior year of high school was starting up, I got hit with the realization that I needed to figure out where I was going to go after graduation. I’ve always known that I wanted to go to a university to study, but I never really planned on staying in Florida to do so. My original and slightly unrealistic plan was to head up north to live in a city I’d never been to before and completely start a new life. Sounds spontaneous enough, but in terms of money that idea was a little far-fetched. Recognizing that I would now have to stay in Florida, I only chose to apply to two universities: University of Central Florida and Florida State University. In the beginning, I thought that if I have to stay here then I might as well have the most fun I can so I was dead set on going to UCF solely for the night life and the proximity to, well everything. Even after getting accepted to both, I never swayed in my decision to go to UCF. However, the bad thing was that I didn’t even like the academics or campus itself; I was only planning on going mainly for the location. Because of my fixed thoughts I viewed FSU in a completely negative light and didn’t open myself up to liking the university or Tallahassee at all. It wasn’t until I had a very, very long conversation with my best friend did I realize that I was making a decision that would ultimately change my life for the next four years based on the wrong reasons. I’m very grateful for her because she helped me remember what I really wanted and therefore completely changed my views on FSU as a whole. As a result, I am here today and very glad I did not choose to go to Orlando. In this particular instance, changing my mind helped change me for the better.

  7. As a person, I tend to change my mind about a lot of things, and I feel as if this occurs pretty frequently throughout my life. Usually, these would be small, peculiar changes, but there was one specific aspect of my life that had truly changed, and this was my religion. Religion has brought a lot of controversy to society nowadays, and it is almost as if it is an uncomfortable topic to talk about with people sometimes, and this is why I would maintain my religious aspect towards Christianity when I was younger so that I would not get verbally attacked by others. I believed in the primary Christian authority figures, but I had never truly practiced the religion nor was I brought up to practice it by my family. In my opinion, somebody is truly religious when they actually take time to practice the religion, and as I grew older, I realized I did not want to conform to an aspect of my life that I thought was important to me. I’ve always been an independent person, so I basically started to ask myself, “Why do I believe in something I’ve never truly believed in?” I completely respect religion and I think it is awesome for someone to believe in something they truly cared about, but as I grew older, I realized it wasn’t, nor will it ever be, something I will practice.

  8. A time when I changed my mind for the better was in high school about a first impression I had on a friend. There was a kid on my lacrosse team who for some reason I just did not like. There are some times in life where you just don’t like a person for no reason. People often say that they have the urge to punch someone in the face, but they do not why. This is how I felt towards this kid. Everything he did just seemed to annoy me. One day for an away game we sat next to each other on the bus. Neither of us brought music to listen to, so we just talked the whole way down. We immediately got along, and I thought to myself is this really the same kid who has been annoying me for so long. I came to realize that he was one of those kids that is never serious, so if you take some of the stuff he does seriously then you are more then likely to get annoyed. I learned that first impressions are not always the right ones. Gladly I changed my mind and we became great friends over the next few years.

  9. A time I changed my mind was the end of my senior year when I was deciding where to attend college. I had applied for several schools and had auditioned for two, Stetson University and FSU. I had gotten accepted into Stetson first and fell in love with the campus and the small town when I went to visit. I was 99% positive I was going to attend that school. I had even bought T-shirts and sweatshirts. Since I had applied for the last admission into FSU, I didn’t find out if I had gotten accepted until a month later. I found out that I got into the music program and gotten into the school at FSU right after I heard that I was denied from the musc program at Stetson. Although I was sure I had my mind set, I changed my mind quickly. (Obviously) I chose FSU and have not regretted my decision ever since. I think this campus is even more beautiful than the other one I fell in love with, and I believe I am enjoying it here even more than I would if I was at Stetson.

  10. My whole life I wanted to take the easy route in life and not go through school. I gave up a on my schoolwork in middle school and didn’t really want to stay in school that bad. My reasons were that I didn’t want to work hard and I was just lazy. My parents got me tutors and got me back into it and from then on I realized that in order to do very well in life you have to go through school since you can only get so far without a degree. I woke up when day and just told my self I want to work as hard as my parents do make a good income to support my own family. I worked really hard in high school and got accepted to my favorite school Florida State University. It was also one of two schools I applied to, so that made me happy i got into both. My goal in life is to make it through graduate school, as a business major and one day own my own business. I want to be able to make my own hours and make my own decisions not people making decisions for me.

  11. As a child, many of a persons preferences or beliefs are largely influenced by the preferences of their parents. When I was a child and would ride in the car with my mother, all she would listen to was country music. For most of my childhood and well into middle school I actually liked country music. Then one day, it was like a switch was flipped in my head that has remained this way ever since. Suddenly, I began to despise country music and still do to this day. The songs all sound so similar and don’t really seem to require too much actual talent. The “artists” are either singing about pleasing their wife, drinking beer, or driving a tractor. I really have no idea why I used to enjoy listening to it. Strangely enough, when I’m intoxicated, country music is pretty much my favorite genre. I’m not sure what that says about myself. I guess it’s because drinking makes you dumber, and being dumber makes me understand country music more. It’s kind of funny how as we get older we realize that some of the things we think we like, turn out to be the things we end up hating.

  12. Being the person that I am, I can never really make up my mind about anything. I tend to question myself when it comes to friends and relationships the most, though. But I have this best friend and we have been friends for about 9 years. My mother always told me to keep all eyes open when it came down to her, including the ones in the back of my head. Well, the problem is that she brings too much drama and I do not need that in my life, especially while in college. I never really noticed it until College actually. She would lie on me and tell any business she though I had. We are still friends but i’ve been keeping my distance and watching my back more. I feel better a lot now too. So I guess my change in mind was re-considering who my real friends are.

  13. I changed my mind when it came down to one of the biggest decisions I would make in my entire life. This decision was when I decided what college I wanted to go to. Most of my family from my mom’s side had attended University of Florida and are all die-hard gators. My dad attended UM and since I was born and raised in Miami I have always been brought up going to UM games dressed in canes gear. From two different sides of the family I was being pressured to go to two different schools that were complete rivals with FSU. I had always known I wanted to leave home to go away to college so UM was out of the question. My family pressured me to go to UF and inherently tried to force me to hate the Seminoles. My sophomore year I went on a college road trip to visit all the Florida schools with my family. We started first at FSU and traveled our way down to UF and I went with the mentality I was going to hate FSU and love UF. On the FSU tour I realized I really pictured myself going to college here and I instantly fell in love. On the UF tour, I had the opposite reaction I actually wanted to vomit on Gainesville. At that moment I had to break it to my family that they couldn’t pay me enough to go to UF and there was no way that I was going. I then chose to go to FSU and I know I made the right choice.

  14. A time when I changed my mind recently is when I joined my fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. My previous conception of Greek life was the common stereotypical party and not care attitude. Upon arriving to Florida State I sensed that conception was going to change. I only knew a couple people from orientation before coming to start school in the fall and they were deciding to go Greek and invited me along to see what it’s all about. I got to know some of the brothers and what Pi Kapp is all about with their philanthropy events and what they stand for and so I decided that this was a decision that could positively affect my future. Now that I am an initiated brother, I am proud to say that Greek life is not the stereotypical party and not care, “frat life”, but actually a very good network of friends, brothers actually, that are willing to help and support you in any endeavor.

  15. One time where I changed my mind over something significant would have to be on what I wanted to major in. Originally a daunting task for myself, I finally landed on accounting, rather than the pre law route. The decision was hard to make because I didn’t feel like I am at the point in my life where I can make a choice of what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. The driving force behind my change would be that I enjoy working with numbers and law school doesn’t require any sort of poli science as a prerequisite. My logic was that if I end up wanting to practice law I could go to law school and still have a bachelors in accounting. It was a big change for me because my parents have always suggested law.

  16. Growing up I would always be very very quick to judge people within the first 15 minutes of meeting them. I could begin to dislike someone just because they have a weak handshake etc. when I came up to Florida State University I met this kid Tommy. He would always be hanging around my friends so I would hang out with him. It didn’t take long for me to get tired of Tommy, he was very annoying and would always come into my room. He was friends with my roommate so I couldn’t kick him out. As time went by I would get more and more tired of him. I expressed my hatred to him and even told him. He kept coming by and I would have very brief instances when I would think to myself this kid isn’t half bad. But we started actually becoming friends, going out partying together, and just becoming really good friends. I always judge people so quickly and it’s very hard for me to change my mind after I already make it up about someone. Tommy is now one of my closest friends and I actually really like hanging out with him now. I still can’t believe I changed my mind after my entire life I always stick to my original impressions of people.

  17. When I was growing up, I cared about politics very loosely. I wouldn’t actively keep up with current events or news, but I absorbed and thought about whatever I happened to see or hear. One one hand, there was my mom talking about how democrats were the only bright, competent Americans citizens. While on the other, pretty much the rest of my family exclaimed how republicans, in fact, were on the correct side of the spectrum, believing in hard work and fairness. Hearing both sides, I thought I needed to make a decision on what team, per say, I was going to join. Then, at some point during high school, while hearing my friends relentlessly argue both sides, I had a revelation. I realized that there was actually no need to pick one party or the other. There’s so many policies and issues to pick a side on that simply picking between two parties is not for everyone.

  18. The changing of ones mind is not only a common occurrence, but also an intangible of great value. Any one person can make the right decision with the luxury of time, but I feel like being able to make a change of mind within a short period of time is more valuable than anything. I can relate to this type of mind changing because I had been a quarterback my whole life in a spread-type offense. In the more basic sense, if I saw blitz coming, I would audible to slants and crossing routes where I knew there would be open space to work with. If the defense was playing a cover two, I would know that sending a man across the middle with two deep would be an almost sure fire completion. The read option though, which was incorporated late into our season, was a crucial play to our championship appearance that year. I would have half a second if I was lucky to read the flow of the linebackers and defensive line to make the decision to hand the ball off to the running back, or fake the run and take the ball myself. Getting practice with making slim times decisions and changing my mind in the knick of time helped me throughout my childhood and still shows signs of helpfulness. Not only was the luxury of time taken away from me, but also the pressure was all on me being that the whole team trusted me to make the decisions and had I failed, all the fingers would have been pointed at me. Making decisions for yourself is a lifelong virtue and being able to make the correct choices when the pressure is on and there is no more tom foolery involved can lead a young soul down the correct life path in a short time.

  19. One time I changed my mind was when I had to make the decision of which college to attend. I was set on going to University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Being a resident of Cocoa Beach, everyone compared my hometown to Jacksonville Beach. They are both surf towns with a very mellow vibe. I thought it was going to be awesome to go to attend college in a town with the same type of atmosphere as back home. My mind was completely changed after my sister found out I wanted to go to UNF. She told me I should step out of the relaxed state of mind and jump into a crazy college town with an exciting feel .She told me go to Florida State and to become a Seminole. I was hesitant at first, in my mind Tallahassee was a wild town where alcohol flows like water. I listened to my sister’s advice to live in an entirely different environment. My views on college spun 180 degrees around landed in Tallahassee. Although I usually ignore my sister’s advice, I am tremendously glad I followed my sisters advice on this one.

  20. Just like every other person, I have changed my mind about various things. People constantly change their minds. Honestly, the only things I remember changing my mind about are TV shows, music, and games. These changes happened because I just grew out of whatever I was watching or listening to. As a child, I would watch many cartoon shows, but as I grew older, those shows didn’t appeal to me and I would start watching something else. The same goes with the music that I used to listen to. Normally before I form an opinion on something, I like to read about it to know exactly what is about and after I find out what that topic is about, I form an opinion and keep it. My parents were never strict about beliefs and such, so I was able to develop my own opinion on stuff at an early age and if I had a question about something, I would go and ask them what they thought about it and form my opinion about it. So, I don’t normally change my mind about big subjects, however I change my mind about minor things that I just outgrow after a while.

  21. I feel as though I can be pretty narrow minded yet even I have noticed that I have changed my mind on a few things pretty dramatically before. For example, when I started high school I found that I was pretty strongly against drinking. To me the kids who started doing it freshman and sophomore year just seemed to think that they were for lack of a better word the shit for drinking every weekend. I didn’t want to become like that. At some points I seemed to think that I would never start drinking. Then came the summer after my junior year. I had my first drink with a few friends and wound up having a lot more after that. Now I never became like the kids in high school that had to go out every weekend to have a good time but I definitely did not stay alcohol free like I thought I would. Another major decision I wound up changing my mind on was about college. All my life I was the biggest Gators fan. I just had it pre-determined that i was going to go there just like my parents and that was that. By junior year I started to get nervous thinking I wouldn’t get in. So I had decided if that was the case I would just go to Santa Fe and transfer after two years. Unfortunately in February of senior year I found out that I got denied by UF. Thankfully a couple weeks later I made a trip up to FSU to visit one of my good friends already up here. He definitely showed me a great time and that weekend definitely helped ease the pain of not getting into UF. It made me realize that FSU was definitely the school for me. I may regret not being at UF sometimes but I am definitely glad I opened my mind on this because I love it here.

  22. I am someone who has a hard time making decisions, I often find myself always asking others what i should do, and because of this i am easily persuaded. One thing though that i changed my mind about has and will have a major impact on my life. Last year after all the college decisions were released I found myself having two options, Penn State or Florida State. I was raised a huge Penn state fan since i was young, my mother attended the school and she loved every minute of it; however, my parents wanted me to at least check out Florida state and go for a visit. I thought i had a good interpretation of FSU and from what i was told about the school i did not think i would like it very much. The day of my tour i wasn’t excited at all, it was a during my spring break and i wanted to be back home at the beach with my friends instead of walking around a school all day with my mother, but it wasn’t long before i realized how much this school had to offer, i was actually drawn in by my tour guide talking and explaining everything that FSU was about and had to offer. After the tour i was sold, my mind changed from being set on attending Penn State and was now looking forward to attending FSU.

  23. Throughout my life I’ve definitely changed my mind about things plenty of times. A change in thought that I recently had to deal with was declaring my major. All throughout high school I was 99% sure that I was going to stick with some sort of engineer major, after all I had taken all the drafting classes available at my high school and really did enjoy everything that went along with it. But when I got to FSU everything changed, and I basically had no clue what I wanted to do. I guess its the overwhelming fact that there is a ton of different majors to be chosen, and there is no possible way I could see myself being satisfied with just one. Actually that last sentence may have been a little lie, I’m currently satisfied with my major choice being finance, and hopefully I can accomplish what I hope to! But yeah so pretty much I was sure that I was never going to change my mind about wanting to do something engineer based, but low and behold I ended up not liking it as much as I had previously thought.

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