People will give you a lot of advice throughout your life. Differentiating between the good and bad is not always black and white, but there is something to be learned from any piece of advice one receives.

While flipping through the pages of my high school yearbooks, I came across one piece of bad advice that really stuck out. It read, "Kaila I like you the way you are, never change." Again and again, "never change" was scrawled across the autographed pages – why would anyone wish that upon me?

If everyone took that advice to heart, think where we would be today. My mom would still wear bright red lipstick with her hair would be stiff with Aqua Net, and my dad would still be rocking the porn star mustache and the mullet.

The truth is that change is essential to our lives. If we do not take an open-minded, willing approach to experiencing the world and all the new ideas it has to offer, then life will be dull and meaningless. This is why I hardly blame people for being hypocrites. It's not that they contradict their original thoughts in order to fit other's views; their own views simply changed. Change isn't a crime.

On that note, I would argue that it's not only acceptable, but also necessary to reevaluate and challenge your pre-existing beliefs. At the very least, challenging them will only reaffirm your previous opinions and make them stronger. If along the way, however, you reach a different conclusion, then you may change and it may be for the best.

Take religion and politics for example, the two taboos of casual conversation. Any U.S. government textbook will tell you that most people in our demographic inherit their parents' political bias. This is expected, because if a normal family dinner consists of your mom praying while your dad crams politics down your throat, there's really no surprise that you'll side with your parents.

When you reach college and someone asks you why you voted for a certain person and the only reason you have is because your parents did, then you are going to look pretty ignorant.

I myself have changed my religious beliefs countless times. I've gone back and fourth between being Catholic and agnostic. I'm constantly open to discussion – in fact, I welcome it.

I think your beliefs require thought and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Once, I had a discussion with a friend about his Baptist beliefs, and after a stuttering of "well my parents believe..." he asked me to take him to a Catholic mass, and although mass is on my list of "avoid at all cost" activities since my escape from Catholic school, his willingness to explore new things led to a visit that Sunday.

In another unexpected plot twist, I found that I actually enjoyed the melancholic tone of my own church.

Change is not just a recommendation – it's a necessity in the job market we face today. Back in the glory days, studying one specific skill and having one job until retirement was the norm. Nowadays, we may have several jobs and never experience the luxury of retiring. Our willingness to adapt and change will be our biggest asset in life.

Change is all around us, whether it's in the latest style, the newest fad, your personal beliefs or the skills and ideas you present to others. It was change that led you to each new experience in your life. Next time someone gives you the bad advice to never change, perhaps question him or her on why they would wish such a curse on you. Challenge life, make changes and learn to grow. It's the reason we are in college: to accept new information, to learn and to grow.

Here is my advice to you: always change and never listen to anyone who tells you not to.

Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at kcurry6@utk.edu.