I ’m 5”3’, but that’s not why I think I’m little. I weigh 125 pounds, but that’s not why I feel small. I guess what I mean to say is that I’m young. At 19, I’m inexperienced. I’ve only voted once, I haven’t had a job, and I only have one semester of college under my belt. I want to write for a magazine one day, but I don’t talk about my dream job from a personal understanding of it and I’m certainly not a columnist. Most importantly, I don’t talk about writing for The Quad from a personal understanding of it. I’ve ignored all the emails until now.
The truth is, I’ve been scared. I’m still scared. I’m so young; how can I express my opinions if they haven’t fully formulated yet? Where do I earn the right to spread my ideas if I am not speaking with the utmost certainty? In the most blunt of ways, I’ve been told that “I don’t know anything” because of my age.
The most infuriating aspect of it is that I’ve been told not to worry, I’ll learn when I’m older. Well, I’m tired of waiting! At what age do I finally have this great, big awakening? I’m writing to you now because I can’t stand this mindset anymore.
With the spring semester starting, I felt a sense of urgency to write this. If I neglected to put myself out there (again) this semester, when would I get the confidence to do so? Society has forced the younger generation into a bubble of insecurity, making age into a liability rather than what it really is: inconsequential.
Enough is enough! This is college! We pay a boatload of money because we don’t have all the answers! We’re trying to learn, that’s why we’re here! College is the place to have a discussion. I mean, that’s why we’re here and not enrolled at the University of Phoenix, right? We came here to sit in class and admit that we don’t know everything, but we have the desire to learn. I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help or express my opinion in the open community of West Chester University, and neither should you.
Don’t tell me you’re not, either. More often than not, we begin our questions and comments in class with “This might be stupid but…” Why is it that we let society make us feel we need to preface our questions and comments in that way? It’s not stupid and we know it’s not dumb, but we feel the need to assure our professors that we aren’t trying to sound foolish. In order to obtain the deeper understanding that we seek, we have to allow ourselves to be uncertain or—God forbid—wrong.
So, you’ll see me again in the next edition, not because I’ll suddenly have all the right answers by then, but because I do have something to offer: my opinion. After a very long time, I think I’m ready to start putting myself out there and stop second-guessing myself because I haven’t lived long enough. I am through silencing myself before I have even given myself a chance. Even more than that, I want to encourage you to join me. I want to encourage you to branch out, just like I am. Every time you turn down an opportunity because “you’re still so young,” you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s imperative we stop perpetuating the belief that being young is somehow a weakness.
Like it or not, there’s never going to be a certain age where we suddenly have all the answers. I guess maybe that’s okay after all.
Casey Meyer is a first-year student majoring in English literature. They can reached at CM873291@wcupa.edu.