Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

It’s been three years since I first wrote for The Quad. When others ask me what got my writing started, I give credit to a predecessor of mine. He was a very politically active columnist who did what so few dare to achieve.think critically and put the pen to the paper. It was back in 2003, when I read a thought provoking op-ed by then-WCU grad student Shawn McGonigal on the “religious oppression of human sexuality.” Needless to say, I was prompted to pick up a pen and respond with a more conservative perception of what religion is all about, beginning a little Quad rivalry. It was then that Forum Editor Kevin Scaltrito asked me to stay on as a staff writer and so I have for the past three years.Now in my final weeks at WCU, I find myself writing my last piece for the forum, looking back on what a wonderful learning experience it has been. I want to thank everyone over the past three years who have read The Quad, my column included. I want to especially thank those who have gone out of their way to give me feedback and even write a “letter to the editor.” Having random people come up to me and say, “Hey you’re the guy that writes for The Quad,” has led into so many interesting discussions, debates, and even led to new friendships and respected acquaintances. As opinionated as I was, I never made an “enemy.” Of course, when you write for The Quad, or any public periodical, you become a “public figure,” recognized by people you don’t even know, so you must be very careful in what you put out there into the public sphere. For it is subject to both praise and criticism. Usually one follows the other, even on common sense issues!

In three years, my column has been the reaction to past columns, the inspiration for future columns, the subject of class discussion in English, Philosophy and Women’s Studies classes, the basis of stupid little arguments in Jake’s Bar, the source of liberal professors’ irrational fear, a new opportunity to meet me for other professors who “respectfully disagreed,” stimulation for fellow WCU conservative students and College Republicans and lastly, an outlet for me to speak my mind. Neat, huh?

Writing for The Quad as both a staff writer and columnist has definitely made my undergrad years at WCU quite the experience. It goes without saying that someone who picks up a pen and writes makes a greater impact than the thousands who are silent. So if I can leave you with any final ‘reflection,’ it is just that. Speak out. Be heard. Don’t hesitate. The day we stop cherishing our freedom of speech is the day we’ll loose it. So engage in social discourse!

Yeah, it’s a risk, and there will always be people who disagree with you and some of them can be immature (believe me, I know), but only by engaging the public will you grow as a person—more than you know. Never be afraid to express and articulate what you believe. You gain respect in life by sticking to your principles, not by accommodation to those which you would spend a lifetime opposing. Never forget that.

Less than two weeks stand between me and graduation. I know that I’ll see a lot of you in the future, but until we meet again, enjoy your time, cherish your freedom and hold on to those dreams.

Anthony Maalouf is a senior at WCU majoring in Political Science and a minor in Spanish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *