You Need To Speak Up About Everything That Bothers You, Despite What Your Thoughts May Tell You

You Need To Speak Up About Everything That Bothers You, Despite What Your Thoughts May Tell You

Even when no one agrees with you.


I attend a Baptist University. Baylor University is an "unapologetically Christian" university, and since I am still trying to find myself in terms of whether or not I choose to participate in organized religion, Baylor was a good choice for me. However, in only one week of classes, I have found that most people here — students and faculty alike — share certain demographics. Being white with blonde hair is one demographic that I belong to, but the other, the "Christian Mindset," is one that I do not belong to. Not being a part of this mindset is borderline damaging to not only other's opinions of me but my opinion of them.

Most of my classes are discussion based, which is a difficult way to run a class. Oftentimes, you have people who either "all agree" or who are just not willing to speak up and contribute to the discussion. Either way, there are too many awkward pauses while the professor desperately searches for someone to make eye contact so they have an excuse to call on them. On the flip side, class debates can get violent, especially if they're about religion, which is my hardest class at the moment.

Baylor expects everyone to have a knowledge of the scriptures when they walk in the door. In theory, one could learn as they go (as classes are supposed to work) but since the course is designed around this expectation, one semester is far too short to try to understand the values and mindsets of Christianity at the most basic level.

It's frustrating. I often feel inadequate compared to my religious classmates, and I have felt this constant pressure to prove myself and to prove that I belong here. I feel stupid for not going on and not understanding any of the readings, and I feel especially stupid for asking the seemingly obvious questions in class or having a perspective that no one else in the class agrees with.

While alienating, I feel that my presence at Baylor is a learning experience for both me and my classmates. It's OK to have a differing opinion than those around you, especially when it comes to religion. If you end up in a situation like I am, understand that the people around you need to be exposed to more viewpoints than the ones they grew up with, and you need to see how religion at its core functions — a lesson I'm still trying to find the answer to.

This doesn't just go for religion either. That's just my personal experience. This goes with any topic of discussion that you may find hard to talk about. Speak your mind. It's OK to be wrong, and it's OK to change your mind. You're allowed to contribute to the conversation, even if no one agrees with you. You don't have to be agreeable to be smart, or kind, or responsible. You need to be you.

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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Why the End of Winter Break is Worse than the End of Summer Break

It was a lot easier to leave my family when we were excited about dorm decorating and a new experience than it was to leave them after the new year.


A majority of first-year college students tend to live on campus in dorms. These dorms tend to have hours of operation that reflect the campus—meaning that students have to be out of their dorm during winter break. This seems to be a positive thing; it encourages students to go home and visit their family for the holiday season. In many places, it is almost an entire month off of school—what a great break, right?

Regardless of what you do with your family over break, leaving back to college may be the hardest of them all. Students and their families get a taste of what it is like to be home again, sleeping under the same roof, eating home cooked meals,spending time together etc. When it is time for students to go back, there is no big hoorah of shopping for school supplies, decorations, and outfits. There is no big hoorah of a giant family trip to the college to unpack an entire carload of goodies. It is simply a hug goodbye, a half-carload of clean laundry, and a lonely drive home. It is a lonely wait for families as they wait to get a call that their kid made it safe.

The campus is no longer new and exciting. The challenge that lies ahead in the second semester is intimidating. There are not as many events to attend. There are no more football games. Just school. Just work. All of the butterflies of being in a new place and being free from parents seem to dissolve. Students wonder how they will do this for the next four years. How will they be away from their family again? What about their pet? Sure, there is summer break where students can go home for a while. But that taste of home might make returning in the fall even harder.

Whether students go to college twenty minutes from their home, twenty states from their home, or somewhere in between, the adventure creates a distance between families that cause hearts to ache. College may still be an exciting and character-building experience, but that doesn't make the lonely car ride back any different.

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