Letter from the editor: find your voice

There is more to learn than what is taught in class, take advantage of opportunities to express yourself

HANAH GOETZ, Opinion editor

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Most of you who are entering WSU are those who are ready to tackle classes and get your degree while having fun on the side. It’s the image we are given for all college experiences — classes, lots of coffee, late nights, an abundance of sweatpants, grueling finals and parties.

Here are things you don’t see from these images: protests, actions, debates, diversity, opinions, voices and unlimited access to knowledge of the world around us. You have your chance to really develop as an individual.

This, to me, is just as important as getting your degree.

College features a structure that is much different from the high schools from which we have. Here we are on our own, making our own decisions, learning new things about the world without any influencers, like our parents, to affect our thoughts and views. That’s the most exciting part. You get to see things on so many different levels.

This is not to say that you will completely change yourself. In fact, this idea is a very false expectation. However, this is a time to embrace who you really are and dig deep to find out exactly where you stand, what you believe and what you are willing to fight for, if at all.

As an opinion writer, I fell into the job to help the previous editor who was struggling to find columnists and was a friend of mine. I had no plans for journalism and due to previous experiences, I was nervous about putting my views into the eyes of the public. But I did.

I have been exposed to all sides of the school, from the workings in the background to the exciting developments. I’ve received nasty comments and letters, but I also received lots of support and encouragement.

None of my writing is anonymous and I learned that I am OK when I voice my opinion. The nasty comments don’t stop me or hurt me. They actually keep me going just as much as the good comments do because this is the nature of being a writer even outside of journalism. This was how I finally found my voice.

But it doesn’t take extremes like mine to really find yourself. It could be a unique class that is being offered. It could be working closely with a professor, even after the class is over. It could be joining a group or taking a workout class or participating in a protest that pops up in the CUB.

You’re exposed to new people, cultures, ideas and history every second you are on campus.

College is here for a reason, let’s make that clear. It’s here to help you earn your degree to further your pursuits in your future, but there’s so much more to it than a classroom and finals.

Students should take advantage of discovering themselves, whether it’s through activities or merely paying attention to what’s happening around you. Just don’t be complacent — push your boundaries and find out who you really are. Now is the time.