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  • Writer's pictureCody Havlice

Leaps of Faith

When I attended my first trip to Cleveland with the National Millennial and Gen Z Community, I took a leap of faith. I was having a packed schedule as a full-time student, part-time intern, upcoming finals, and side projects demanding attention, so I naturally hesitated at first. This opportunity seemed to come at “the worst possible time” (a direct quote from me before the trip). Little did I know that it would turn out to be the best timing and a much-needed mental break.

Heading to Cleveland, Ohio, I was already aware of the stereotypes and preconceived notions surrounding the city. People often dismissed Ohio with memes and criticism about things happening "only in Ohio." However, this trip turned out to be a desirable destination, and it provided me with an opportunity that would not have happened if the trip was hosted elsewhere. I decided to approach the journey with an open mind, leaving behind the preconceived notions of Ohio, and entering with a clear head. Challenging these notions was exhilarating, and it allowed me to discover the true essence of Cleveland.

Preconceived notions often hinder us from fully experiencing and appreciating new places. Upon arriving in Cleveland, I found a vibrant energy and rich cultural heritage. The Cleveland Museum of Art, with its extensive collection spanning various periods and styles, and the Rock and Roll Museum shattered my initial assumptions of the city's lack of artistic significance. The art museum showcased masterpieces that rivaled those in major metropolitan areas I had seen before. It was an eye-opening experience that taught me not to underestimate a city's cultural offerings based on preconceived notions.

Interactions with the locals further dismantled my preconceived notions. The warmth and friendliness of Clevelanders were evident wherever I went. Their pride in their hometown and eagerness to share its history and local recommendations fostered a sense of community that I had not anticipated beforehand.

My trip to Cleveland served as a powerful reminder of the importance of approaching new experiences with an open mind. By entering the journey with minimal preconceived notions, I was able to fully appreciate the city's vibrant culture, warm hospitality, and unique attractions. Cleveland shattered any lingering stereotypes, leaving me with a renewed appreciation for the city and a determination to encourage others to break their own stereotypes, ask questions, and get out of your comfort zone more often.


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