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Among many people my age there is the expectation of pursuing a college education. Understandable, as college is supposed to improve career opportunities, monetary success, social status, and general edification. In some regards this holds true, however the cost of attending university to obtain these things has proven to be greater than the ever-increasing price tag.
My opinion is in no way indicative of a generation, or of the population of peers with whom I attended university.
Before I went to university, my father figure was nervous on my behalf. His apprehension lay, in part, in the fact that I was a young conservative woman seeking a humanities education in this day and age. I remember him telling me “Sophie, I’m worried about you! I don’t want you to become a wallflower when you go to college because people are so against your opinions.” I assured him that it probably wasn’t as bad as he’d heard. There was no way I would ever be afraid to express my opinions, especially in an academic environment devoted to learning. “It won’t be that way,” I kept telling him.
Alas, it was, in fact, that way.
Here are a few of the more outrageous moments from my first year at university:
- You’re inherently racist because you’re white.
- A speech about my father’s marriage (to a wonderful woman, I need not clarify) was heteronormative, and for the speech to be acceptable I needed to include evidence for same-sex parenting.
- I was a horrible person (yes, that bit is paraphrased) for not skipping class to go to a climate change rally.
The list of specific examples is short and does not include the sentiment of many classes, but one gets the gist: conservative opinions were generally unwanted. Now let’s acknowledge, of course, that one expects to run into strong, opinionated individuals with differing beliefs at university. I understood this and still do. But when a large majority of both the student body and the faculty seem unbothered by actively smothering opinions different than their own, I take issue. Conservatives were there, of course they were, but the few students who spoke up in class were riddled with emotional arguments from the evidently greater body of liberal students. “I feel” has replaced “I think” to a disturbing degree in modern collegiate vernacular. One can only fight against the proverbial tide so much before they no longer have the energy.
I am not someone who loudly screams my opinions. I have no intention of becoming the poster child for what’s wrong with modern collegiate academia. But after an entire year of ranting my frustrations to my friends and family, I think I am entitled to politely air my grievances. It turns out, dad was right. It really is that way. That polarized, emotional, Overton Window complying, virtue signaling, way. He was right, but he has wisely refrained from chirping “I told you so.”Published in