I am not one to get involved in politics usually.
Yes, I am pursuing a degree in journalism at a politically active campus, but I am not pursuing a degree in political journalism.
I want to make people smile and laugh and talk about the good things in life. I am more of a cosmo Snapchat quiz or review a good book kind of journalist.
That being said, I am constantly surrounded by politics in my everyday life. People at my university love to talk about it and love to voice their opinions. And that is GREAT.
It is so good that young people are so involved and care about the state of our country.
Every voice should be heard and I find it inspiring how motivated and active the students at Syracuse University are. However, I am terrified to speak my opinion despite my school and peer's motto of everyone's voice deserves to be heard.
I am not a die-hard conservative.
I consider myself more of a moderate, if anything. I have certain things I lean more to the right on and I have certain things I lean more to the left on. But I definitely lean to the right more than I lean to the left.
Before coming to college, I grew up in a conservative Christian home and was surrounded by a community and town that was more conservative as well. I never got involved in anything and didn't talk about politics, however, I just accepted the fact that I was conservative because of how I grew up. I didn't really know what it meant.
Coming to college, I was introduced to a whole new world and boy was it terrifying.
I was surrounded by people who knew so much about current events and who really loved talking about politics. I was way out of my league and even reconsidered why I came here. I felt cornered and I wasn't educated enough to even know how to handle political conversations.
Throughout my freshmen year all I heard was "your voice matters," "we want to hear your voice," but I NEVER felt mine would even be taken seriously. Sure, I agreed with those who spoke in my classes and my friends sometimes, but there were also times I didn't.
Every time I thought about speaking out I knew I wasn't ready to handle the looks I would get and the judgment I would receive.
That first semester of college was a rough one for me.
Then, I started making more friends and getting more comfortable with the people around me. I started talking about my home life and sometimes they would bring up politics and I would say a thing or two sometimes. Every time I opened up, however, the others would get quiet or would start to get agitated.
If I am thinking or believing slightly different than people here are, I am not heard. I did not feel as if my voice matters and I still don't.
I felt like no one was on my side and I still feel that today.
A lot of my beliefs are supported by my faith, as well. That adds an entirely new element of judgment from others as well. When people find out I am Christian AND think more conservatively, I am immediately pegged as a judgemental person.
Voicing my opinion and beliefs does not mean I am shutting other people's down. Voicing my opinion should matter, and in the environment I am in now, I do not feel that it does. I am constantly afraid of voicing my opinions.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. I am disappointed in how a community that promotes the importance of voice is so quick to judge me.
You have your beliefs and I have mine, that doesn't make me less of a person.
I hope that one day I find the strength to not be afraid of standing up for myself. I hope that others who are afraid to share their voice as well, no matter their beliefs, find strength.
I don't put you down for your beliefs, so stop putting me down for mine.