The Importance of Forming One’s Opinion and Educating Themselves

By Hannah Saltz

In past elections, I would immediately agree on my parent’s opinions. I never really had my own voice, they told me who was considered “good” and who was considered “bad.” The same thing happened during the first half of the 2016 election. They told me who they believed in and told me this candidate would fix all of the US’s problems. I wasn’t so sure.

As I made the transition from middle school to high school, I decided to do some research of my own. I read unbiased news sources, paid attention to current events, and looked at each candidate’s policies. Over a few short months, I found myself drifting away from my parents ideas and forming my own opinions. This shift in political views was really important to me, I formed my own ideas about a major issue in the world for the first time.

As the election continued, my friends and I would have numerous conversations about each candidate. We all had different views to each other. Being surrounded by friends with different political views didn’t peer pressure me into changing views, but it did allow me to keep an open mind.

Even though this was my experience, some students still listen to what their family members have to say and don’t take the time to form their own opinion. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, I’ve seen this here at HB and my past school. I did the same thing. Composing separate ideas (not just political) that are different than the ones of the people that surround us can be difficult, especially standing one’s ground. I believe that in order for one to find their own opinion on a certain topic or event, they need to look at multiple trustworthy new sources that accurately cover it.

It is inevitable that at some point, you and your parents will disagree on something. Just because your parents believe something, doesn’t make it so, or even mean that it fits your own personal set of values. As you get older, you will have to make more and more important decisions on your own. You will have to figure out what is right for you. It is important that we learn to think for ourselves and be able to explain why you think what you do.

Moving away from just repeating your parents’ views is an important step in your life. Having emerged from that, and looking back one year later, I can’t tell you that it is always going to be easy. But, what I can tell you is, from my experience, you will emerge having a much better sense of who you truly are.