Luther creates an environment where people cannot have an opinion

At the start of my time at Luther, I was a very outspoken individual who loved to voice my thoughts on a subject. I loved to talk about nerd culture, my thoughts on movies, and I even had the occasional thought on current political happenings.

However, as I grew comfortable at this place and people with me, others also began to feel comfortable challenging those opinions. And eventually these challenges became aggressive rejection. I was often confronted about the thoughts I had just voiced if they did not agree with the general mindset of the college; even the smallest things like my music taste were criticized and I began to stop talking to people about music.

Eventually, the rest of my opinions followed suit. I have become a quieter individual than I was in my first year, and I believe this happening is mostly to blame. I have had my thoughts and opinions vocally crushed too many times that I decided that the best way to avoid these situations in the future is to remove my voice from most sensitive issues altogether.

And it does not seem that I am the only one with opinions either. This year, Chips has had a startling lack of submissions of opinion pieces. While this may simply be due to a general lack of awareness on campus, it could also be due to the fact that people are afraid their opinion will be rejected by the general populous.

This mindset also affects the classroom setting. I feel that many people in discussion-based classes are afraid to have conversations about things that really matter. For example, let’s take a class we have all experienced or are currently experiencing: Paideia. In my experience, my professor left a lot of room for discussion in class after doing readings, yet there were only one or two people that would speak up (myself being one of them).

A few weeks ago, Cara Keith wrote an opinion piece about how Luther students have become apathetic, and I believe that this may be a part of the problem. The culture on campus has encouraged a society of being quiet and keeping our opinions to ourselves as we are afraid that even the smallest thing may set someone off. Nobody knows how to or what the right way to confront issues may be, so they have chosen to stop sharing opinions and thoughts entirely to avoid the issue altogether.

I do understand that there are many issues on campus and in the world which need correcting, but just because someone has an opinion that differs from yours does not necessarily mean it is wrong. Differing opinions can create discussion and lead to new discoveries. Let people have their opinions, and I believe the campus will grow.

Jackson Robelia (‘21)

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