I'm Not Afraid To Be A Conservative In College

I'm Not Afraid To Be A Conservative In College

I am not scared to encounter disagreement; I am prepared to embrace it.
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What do you think of when you hear the word "conservative"? Do you envision an eighteen-year-old, female, future college student? Most people do not.

Whenever I tell people, "I am a conservative", the stereotype of a middle-aged, white man with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other fades before their eyes. Of course, such a statement is now considered an audacious one. As a result, I have experienced whispers of gossip, harsh glares, and immediate jeers after identifying as such.

But that does not make me frustrated or fearful for the next chapter of my life: college. These four years will truly be unlike anything I have ever known, and I could not be more ready for what is to come.

For my entire life, I have been educated in extremely conservative, Catholic-affiliated schools. While I have grown tremendously in my religious faith, I have been minimally exposed to those from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Within my high school, the majority of my classmates were very similar to me. We were all from similar backgrounds with similar families sharing similar values, and therefore similar political stances. Yet, most of them were, as I like to say, "blindly Republican". Reiterating their parent's outbursts at the TV during last night's Fox News report, their remarks, made in various settings including but not limited to the classroom or the hallways, not only had barely any intellectual rationale but also were delivered without any independent research. These comments bred a sense of fear, insensitivity, and hatred amongst the minority of liberal students-the wrong message to showcase to anyone who opposes your political views.

There were few liberals who bravely spoke out against the consensus; however, they were often shut off from further discussion. Occasionally, their oppositions were heard. Yet, instead of creating a "learning experience" for both sides, proper debate etiquette was simply ignored.

My first introduction to such debate was in my junior year of high school when I traveled to the Holy Land on an interfaith pilgrimage alongside Jewish and Catholic teenagers. For the first time in my life, I had to defend not only my religious beliefs but also my political opinions to an audience which thought radically different from me. Instead of shutting down these discussions, I was intrigued by the different perspectives--the art of debate. I attempted to articulate my beliefs and my reasoning behind them, but like any seventeen-year-old, I did not know much.


Aside from my lack of facts or research, I did know a few things. I knew that would not be the last time my opinions would be questioned. I knew my conservative, Catholic "bubble" would burst once I arrived on a college campus. I knew the tables would certainly turn, and I knew my opinions would soon become the minority.

I was given a preview of this reality during a pre-orientation event last month. On the first night, a casual conversation between my assigned roommate and I gradually transformed into a full-on political discussion. We stayed up for a majority of the night discussing a multitude of social issues, ranging from abortion to immigration, continuously disagreeing with each other.

Although there was plenty of dissent visible throughout our entire discussion, we shared a common virtue: respect. We equally listened to the other, refraining from any interruption or distractions. We were both dedicated to the conversation, interested more in understanding the other rather than refreshing our social media accounts. Our political dialogue ended at an "agree to disagree" stalemate at approximately three o'clock in the morning. And like a majority of political discussions, we fell asleep that night without the slightest change of our pre-established opinions.

Once I returned home, I acknowledged that there were many of these types of discussions to come. But next time, it probably won't be one-on-one. Instead, a large group, maybe even the entire class might disagree with me, including the professor. But I am not scared to encounter disagreement; I am prepared to embrace it.

There will be plenty bumps along the road, I'm sure. No matter what, some people-on both sides- will always be quick to judge, to stereotype. to generalize. I guess being a conservative automatically comes with elementary-school bullies who will constantly frame you as a sexist (even though I'm a woman), racist, or homophobe without a glimpse of factual support. There will be many people I meet who will pretend like they don't know me once they find out my political opinions. They will threaten to unfollow due to the vast amount of political articles that I share, but I won't mind having one less friend on Facebook.

If you plan to belittle me because of my political alliance, you should know a few things. First, I will not cry if someone questions my beliefs. I do not need the therapeutic treatment within a "safe space" because I encountered a political discord amongst my fellow peers. Instead, I will form a civil exchange of ideas, a freedom beautifully protected under the first amendment. But I must warn you, my arguments are not drenched with emotions; they are enveloped with principle. And principle does not shed tears; it reveals the truth.

So fellow classmates, I ask you not to judge me for my political identity. Rather, I compel you to question my principles, so we can work together, through our differences, to discover the truth.

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Cosenza

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Spoke With A Group Of DACA Recipients And Their Stories Moved Me To Tears

An experience that forever changed my perspective on "illegal" immigrants.

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I thought I was just filming about a club meeting for a project, but when I entered the art-filled room located in a corner of the student common area, I knew this experience would be much more than a grade for a class.

I was welcomed in by a handful of people wearing various Arizona State hoodies and T-shirts that were all around my age. They were college students, like myself, but something felt different when talking to them. They were comforting, shy at first, and more driven than the peers that I usually meet.

As I began to look around the room, I noticed a good amount of art, murals, religious pieces, and a poster that read, "WE STAND WITH DREAMERS." The club was meant for students at ASU that are either undocumented or DACA recipients.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

As a U.S. citizen college student, you typically tend to think about your GPA, money, and dating. As a DACA recipient college student, there are many more issues crowding your brain. When I sat down at a club meeting for students my age dealing with entirely different problems as me, my eyes were opened to bigger issues.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program allows for individuals that crossed the border as children to be protected from deportation and to go to school or work. Commonly known as DREAMers, these individuals are some of the most hard-working, goal-oriented and focused people I have met, and that's solely because they have to be.

In order to apply to be a DACA recipient, it is required that the applicant is attending school with a high school diploma, or a military veteran, as well as have a clean criminal record. While being a DACA recipient does not mean that you can become a permanent citizen of the United States, it allows for opportunities that may not be offered in their home country.

It's no secret that the United States has dealt with immigration in a number of ways. From forming new policies to building a wall on our nation's border, we see efforts to keep immigrants from entering the U.S. every day. But what about the people who are affected?

As the club members and I began a painting activity regarding where we came from and how we got to where we are today, I began to feel the urge to cry.

Photo by Amanda Marvin

One girl described the small Mexican town that she grew up in and the family that still resides there. She went on to talk about how important education is to her family and so much so that it was the cause of her family's move to the United States when she was still a child. Her voice wavered when she talked about the changing immigration policies that prevent her from seeing her family in Mexico.

Another member of the club, a boy with goals of becoming a journalist, talked of his depression and obstacles regarding growing up as an undocumented student. Once he was told by his father that he was illegal, he began to set himself apart from his peers and became someone he did not think he would ever be.

All of my worries seemed small in comparison to theirs, and I felt a pang of regret for realizing I take my own citizenship for granted every single day.

Terminating the policy would lead to the displacement of about 800,000 people. We tend to forget about the human aspect of all of this change, but it's the most important part.

For more information about this club, visit https://www.facebook.com/USEEASU/

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