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Students should show support and accept each other’s opinions

It is safe to say everyone has an opinion. Some may view that statement to be true or false. However, I am certain most would agree that on a college campus within the walls of a classroom, opinions on various subjects that affect our country and community are readily available.

As a student on the verge of earning a degree in English, I have given my fair share of opinions throughout my collegiate career. I will admit, however, it has not always been an easy thing to do. Depending on the topic or issue at hand, I have found that even as a mature student (nontraditional, over the age of 26), I have kept my opinion to myself. I didn’t have the nerve to voice my thoughts on many occasions and afterward wanted to kick myself for not doing so.

Now the question remains. Are there more students like myself who at times shy away from adding to a class discussion? If yes, than why is this the case? I had to ask myself what exactly it was that kept me from stating my claim.

Often as students, we tend to have a certain level of concern about offending other classmates by taking a particular stance on a matter. Other times students may not be comfortable with speaking aloud, or they may worry about sounding ignorant, which in turn would make a student hesitant on sharing their views.

In the wake of so many socially unjust events taking place around the world, student panel debates would serve as a sounding board. This, in turn, could possibly aid in students’ better understanding of how to get along and to relate harmoniously with other fellow students, no matter their views or opinions.

Dr. Mary Beth Lovin, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has admitted that as an educator she has noticed a large amount of her students shying away from speaking up in class.

“Depending on class size, I noticed some students felt anonymous and just would not interact,” Lovin said.

Often times large classroom sizes tend to serve as a sort of comfort zone and have students feel as if they could anonymously fade into the background. I personally know of several of my classmates who wanted to only take large classes for this reason.

As a smaller institution than UNCG, Guilford has a more close-knit environment. Having gone to both schools, I can bear witness to being more outspoken in class at Guilford versus UNCG. So are smaller class sizes the answer to the riddle of how to get students more involved?

Tanequa Armstrong, a sophomore, seems to think so.

“One of the reasons why I choice to study at Guilford was because of the size. Being on the smaller side, I feel like here on campus we tend to operate more as a community and not as individuals,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong has also admitted that at times she feels as if she is back in high school with the students on campus grouping off at times.

“Sometimes in class I think students don’t voice their opinions because they don’t want to be judged for it,” Armstrong said.

Shatericka Warren, a former student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spoke on the ways students should be able to use their voices to make a positive difference in the world.

“With everything going on in our country recently, students have no room to be shy about speaking out against injustices,” said Warren.

Students more than anyone have a responsibility to rally together, speak up and be heard in order for positive change to take place within our communities and organizations.

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