University is not just about getting a degree. Andrea explains how university is also a time for you to figure out your opinion on topics that are important to you. It’s about learning to hear your own voice, and becoming confident enough to voice it out loud.
They say that university is where you start the journey of finding your personal voice. It’s supposedly the place where you decide what kind of person you want to be and what your political, religious, artistic, and ethical views are.
However, this proves to be a little tricky when all around you, fellow students are trying to do the exact same thing, and everyone has a unique, loud opinion. Not only do you have to figure out your own, but also find a way to make your voice be heard.
Here are 6 simple tips that can help you stay true to who you are, without simultaneously being afraid to change into a better, more authentic version of yourself.
1. Be Open to Everyone’s Opinion.
Opening yourself up to various opinions from various people gives you a better scope for your own final opinion. But just because you’re listening to what everyone else has to say doesn’t mean you have to agree with all of it.
You can take one small aspect from every idea and from there create a completely new idea of your own. The more research you do, and the more ideas you consider, the stronger your own view will be.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Voice Yours.
Hearing yourself speak out loud is different to hearing yourself speak inside your head. You might say something that you later disagree with and change your view, but that’s the point of figuring it out.
Almost no one’s views stay exactly the same forever, and that’s good – since it shows that a person grows and has the ability to re-evaluate their thoughts.
Allow yourself to say,
“Hey, this is what I once thought, but after hearing this conversation and reconsidering things, I’ve changed my views.”
And if someone gives you a five-minute lecture about how wrong your opinion is, then let them express their views. Those are their thoughts and these are yours. That leads me to the next point…
3. Don’t Be Afraid of People Disagreeing with You.
Someone is always going to disagree with you or reject your views. That’s life. For example, sometimes it can be intimidating when someone you admire hates something you love, but if they loved everything you loved, you probably wouldn’t admire them I the first place.
We admire, dislike and love people because for their differences. We may see strength in someone and admire them because we ourselves lack strength.
Don’t think that agreeing with someone will always get you further. In some cases, it may disadvantage you because you have nothing new to bring.
4. You Don’t Have to Explain Yourself.
If you disagree with someone (heck, even if you agree!), don’t think that you owe them your fully fleshed out opinion. On the other hand, however, even though you don’t owe them, if you can substantiate your opinion, it’s more likely that the other person will be able to reconsider their own. If they ask for it, give it to them. If they don’t, then don’t. And if you want to give your opinion freely, that’s totally fine.
Do what you want, as long as you’re not causing anyone else harm or violating their rights. Doing what you want makes you you. So just do you.
With all this said, be careful. Sometimes opinions may seem completely correct to you, but may be politically incorrect or hateful to others. Ensure that before you state an opinion on any subject matter that is politically sensitive, you do your research. Does it go against university policies or government policies? You don’t want to find yourself suspended or expelled.
5. Give Yourself Time to Work Yourself Out.
You don’t have to know what you like within the first three months of university! As I said earlier, you will always be changing your opinion about something throughout your entire life. It’s called human nature.
Do you know that saying, ‘The only constant thing about life is change?’
There will be a time when you feel like you have a thousand opinions, and a time when you have no opinion on anything – and that’s OKAY.
6. Don’t Force Your Opinion on Anyone Else.
Just as I’ve spoken about giving yourself the room to grow your opinions, values, and views, you need to give that same respect to others. If someone looks like they don’t have it all figured out yet, let them figure it out. Instead of laughing at their lack of placement in the world, you could help them by sharing your ideas and the ideas of others.
In conclusion, your opinion matters. It matters to who you are but also to the opinions of others. Be yourself, think your thoughts BUT always do your research and don’t do it if it’s at the expense of others.
During university, your opinion and passion about a topic may lead to something bigger than just voicing your unique take on things. You might decide to join an entire body of students to help bring voice to an important cause. Perhaps you will even get involved in student politics and join a protest movement. If this be the case, make sure you know your rights, and how to go about student protesting.