Speak up as you like

Colleen Roach, Staff Writer

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Columbia College has encouraged all of its students to voice their opinions. However, why is it that I still find myself wondering if I’m speaking too much?

In high school, I did not always speak up in class discussions, unless someone had already voiced his or her opinion and it was the same as mine. Then, I would talk just to support his or her argument or to say that I agreed. So it was a big change coming to CC and being in an environment where voicing my thoughts wasn’t only encouraged, but it was appreciated.

I usually didn’t speak up in class because I felt that I’d be judged for speaking up too much. My senior year of high school I was in an English class that was predominantly male, and they were boisterous young men who dominated the discussions. I felt that if I ever did manage to speak up my opinion wouldn’t be valued or even heard. I was also approached one day after speaking up during a discussion by a male classmate who said that I spoke too much and was teased for “going off” on someone the next day.

“Why don’t women students talk as much as men? One explanation is that women prove to be extremely vulnerable to interruption,” according to a study done by Catherine Krupnick, Harvard Graduate School lecturer, at Harvard University.

But why is it that women still don’t speak up during class with an all-female environment?

“We’re so used to the discussion being created for us in high school, that when it comes to us creating the discussion, we get speechless. I think that once you get past your first year, or semester, of college you get more comfortable with it,” Christinia Dunn, junior political science major, said.

“The idea intimidated me at first, but I eventually got used to this idea that I could voice my opinion and not be faulted for it,” Ashlyn Monroe, sophomore mathematics and computer science major, said.

I ran into a similar situation earlier this semester: I was participating in a class discussion and felt the need to be silent because I felt like I was talking excessively and no one cared, or either I was dominating the conversation. Almost right after I had this thought, I came to the realization of why should it matter if I’m voicing my opinion on each topic?

Some people have an opinion on everything, and others have opinions only on specific things or situations; both of those are perfectly fine. What isn’t fine is feeling as though you can’t voice those opinions or you’re hesitant to because no one will care. Let me reassure you that sometimes when you voice your opinion, you give another person the courage to voice theirs.

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