On Wednesday night the College Republicans and Democrats held a debate completely run by students. Three students represented each club, the moderators were students and students in the audience submitted all the questions. As part of the planning process, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although our opinion section is open to all students, UNH community members and Durham residents, we haven’t had much of a right-leaning presence in The New Hampshire this semester. Because of this, my knowledge of what students who more strongly affiliate with the Republican party think about different issues was minimal.
After the debate, I felt as if I have a pretty decent understanding on what it means to be a right side millennial. When leaving the debate, it wasn’t the different topics discussed or the conflicting views of the Republican vs. Democrats that left a standing impression, but how well each student was able to articulate their opinions. And then, I realized, that there are so many college students that do this so well. Everyday my social media feeds are filled with statuses and articles posted by a variety of different UNH student opinions on multiple topics.
What I then soon realized was how impressive this is. Having a belief or judgment formed about a topic, not necessarily based only on fact, but based on one’s internal feelings and experiences is not only vital to an educated community, but takes a brave voice to put forth into the world. Expressing opinion is one of the most important aspects to helping society progress. It can ignite change and communicate belief. The most important thing expressing an opinion does is help you define the person you are. Opinion shows knowledge. It shows determination, shapes ideology and action.
I encourage all students to establish a personal moral belief system because your opinion matters. Never hold back your opinions, but always have a strong reason to support them. Although it is easier to just regurgitate trendy beliefs, you will only be doing yourself a disservice. Receiving hostile or opposing responses after sharing a standpoint can be difficult or discouraging, but it is so important to embrace your views; this will only make you a stronger individual.
We must remember that we are college students. Our minds and our knowledge of worldly issues are expanding. Being aware that all opinions matter is important because they can help you shape your own. It is important to change and shift opinions over time as you experience new things, people and places. Read often, listen to others and never back down from what you believe in. Your one voice could change the world.