Columns, Opinion

Campus Cognition: BU provides a space for political discourse that many did not have in their hometowns

The three weeks that I have spent living on campus have flown by and they have already served to satisfy my aspirations in finding a political community at this school. Anyone with a background the same as mine — one in which they were surrounded by people that shared nothing ideologically in common with them — understands why I did not hesitate in the slightest when considering Boston University as my first option for school.

Much of my decision to consider attending a school in the Northeast came down to the fact that I wanted to find and bond with others that understood exactly where I was coming from on a political level. As long as I have been interested in politics, being surrounded by opposing views from mine came with ups and downs. 

I was on the outside looking in, with little empathy from anyone. It brings me great joy to proclaim that these circumstances have taken a complete 180 since arriving in Boston. 

Making friends on campus was never really a worry of mine, but making substantial political connections gave me anxiety. Despite never shying away from being as honest as humanly possible about my political views, the fear of alienation from those who may see me as opposed to their ideologies has manifested itself in the back of my mind. 

Whether one considers politicization to be a positive or negative aspect of society, it is apparent the increased hostility between differing ideologies has the potential to create chaos in human interaction. 

That was exactly why I was so worried to come to BU, even knowing people may share some of my views. I felt as though saying the “wrong thing” would create an unintended image of me in others and I would not be able to make good first impressions.

Thankfully, my fears were put to rest quickly. I can reason, through my experience these first three weeks, that BU’s overall range of political discussion is accepting. 

While I have met many of those who very, very closely align with me politically, many of my new best friends do indeed have different ideologies than I. Yet, within our countless discussions about society and the political atmosphere, our commonalities overshadow our disagreements. 

But I had to ask myself: Is this simply a product of being a freshman and therefore having the intuition to make as many friends as possible? 

Looking toward the future, I know that friends at this school will come and go, and that I likely cannot stay as close with some people as I am now. And if these departures result from any sort of political disagreement, I am willing to accept them and continue to stand up for what I think is right. 

Being a student at BU comes with opportunities at every turn. One of the least recognized opportunities, at least for us freshmen, are the opportunities that directly result from engaging in nuanced friendships — the kind some of us could never have back where we were raised.

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