I first took an interest in writing my opinions late my junior year. I’ve have always been an avid reader and writer, but I wasn’t always comfortable with sharing my views. I wasn’t open to the criticism or the judgment that I thought would follow. However, certain issues surfaced that I felt compelled to write about. I no longer saw my writing as a diary of my private thoughts, but as a way to communicate to others things I felt that needed to be said. And opinion writing, specifically, was an avenue where I was able to discuss my viewpoints, hoping that others too would become a part of the discussion.
With that said I would like to encourage all students, from all backgrounds, regardless of your major to become a part of the discussion at Temple through opinion writing. My goal is not to recruit writers, but rather stress the importance of having a representative student body that writes about issues pertinent to Temple’s community and our development while at Temple. The opinion section allows you to be subjective, rather than objective. Essentially, it’s an open platform where you can “set the record straight” according to your own ideologies and thoughts.
While your opinion may not always be accepted by others, what’s important is that you offered another perspective that didn’t exist prior. The ability to effectively convey a strong written argument can have the potential to transform how others perceive the subject matter that you wrote about. It can have the potential to teach someone something new or erase prejudices.
Not only is it essential that diverse perspectives be heard, but it creates and fosters understanding and awareness.
Capitalize on your right to freedom of speech. Everyone has something different to offer than the next person. We all come from different walks of life and experiences, and this inherently shapes our perspective on issues that affect our everyday life. However, by remaining voiceless about issues you feel very opinionated about or issues that you may feel are marginalized, allows others to remain misinformed, thus shaping views that misrepresent the issue itself. While it is not anyone’s responsibility to convince people to side with your particular view, it is important to put it out there as a possibility, which promotes creative thinking and analysis in a society that basically does not promote or teach one how to express themselves in this manner. We live in a quick sound bite, or less-is-more type of society. We rely upon others who distill information and then spoon feed it to us. However, a liberal arts institution is the perfect forum in which to engage in creative thought, analysis and writing.
Inevitably, we all have our own biases, but at least when becoming a part of a discussion that sharing your opinion has facilitated, we somehow realize that there is more than one way of looking at any issue.
A.J. Ayers, a British philosopher once said, “Nothing can be real if it cannot be conceptualized, articulated, and shared.” Hopefully, your opinion encourages people to become open minded. Maybe your opinion may ignite action, but at best it gives you the ability to express yourself as an independent thinker.
Kierra Bussey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.