Think for yourself

AB Boyd | Cartoonist

People hold their personal views so tightly that they will try to convince you their opinions are truth, regardless of how trivial the subject matter at hand.

As college students, it is imperative we take the time to unlearn the views that have been presented to us as fact and figure out why we believe what we believe.

Don’t let your professors tell you what to think.

Our professors’ job is to give us the tools to think through the information they present to us. We should come out of our classes equipped to defend our own views. If we finish a semester as the copy-and-paste miniature version of any of our professors, then we have missed a key part of education along the way.

It is especially important to create and defend our own views when our classes discuss controversial topics. Professors are people too, and as people they are going to have their own biases they might sneak into lectures. Regardless of whether or not this is intentional, it is our responsibility to sort through what is fact and what is opinion.

Don’t let your parents tell you what to think.

This is a hard perspective to unlearn, specifically for students who are just now experiencing life on their own for the first time. Our parents raised us and more likely than not imparted as much wisdom as they could upon us, but at some point or another we have to step back and realize our parents’ views are not the definition of objective truth.

Whether it is politically, religiously or socially, it is important to come to our own conclusions. Being raised a certain way does not mean that every little opinion presented to us is accurate. Take some time to think through topics — why do I think this? Where is this idea coming from?

Once we step back and answer these questions, we will be well on our way to having answers for why we believe what we believe, and we won’t be forming opinions based solely on what our parents said.

Don’t let your peers tell you what to think.

This is difficult. Most of us want our friends and classmates to like us. We want to be able to feel a connection to these other people, to celebrate our similarities. However, it is okay to have opinions that contradict those of even our closest friends.

We need to be willing to ask our peers why they have the opinions they hold on certain topics. We need to be willing to fully engage in listening, and not prep our next retort in the silence between statements. Above all, we need to be willing to disagree.

We do not have to see the world the same way everyone else in our friend group does in order to be a valuable person.

Do yourself a favor, and slow down. Know what you are saying and why you are saying it. Don’t just spit back out whatever information you hear.

It’s okay to learn and to change our views as we gain more knowledge. A little bit of research goes a long way, and the world could use a few more informed individuals.