Becca DeShetler is a second year who is still exploring all that college has to offer. Originally from Los Altos, California, Becca works on the ghU Commitee for GlobeMed and is also a guide for Outdoor Adventures. She hopes to find her own way to continue her family’s three-generation legacy of social work. If Becca had a one-way time travel ticket, she would bring the most powerful people she could to 2100 and show them the effect of unsustainable environmental choices on our world.
I want to admit that I have been the owner of some really—let’s just say it—dumb opinions. I’ve been positive that as a high school student journalist I had the right to grading data about my teachers. I’ve been absolutely sure that the flaws in my school’s sex ed curriculum were a result of administrative failure. I’ve known for sure that anyone voting yes on Proposition 8 back in 2008 was immoral.
I’m now confident that none of those questions had answers that were nearly so black and white.
But my values have not changed. I still think that those in power must be transparent, sex education is a requirement, and marriage is the civil right of all consenting adults.
Because I have had so many difficult conversations about these subjects, I have finally realized that all those topics lay in a gray area. If my newspaper got that data, we would have burned lines of communication with the administration and angered teachers. The administrators who offered an online class that didn’t met state standards likely didn’t have money to fix it, or never saw the content in the first place. Many people come from cultural backgrounds that narrowly define marriage, and while I may deeply disagree, I likely would have the same opinion if I grew up in a Mormon family like my best friend did.
Nearly everything that people debate is debated because there is no right answer, only answers that are a bit more correct depending on one’s values, background and priorities. We just tend not to listen to the background stuff.
When I moved from the kids’ section of our library to the young adult section, I remember singling out books like Geography Club; Parrotfish, and Go Ask Anna, about all the invisible ideas usually reserved for real adults. I found nothing more interesting than the things that no one liked to talk about.
I have fleetingly found places where talking about things that don’t have an answer is acceptable and welcomed: around campfires with close friends, or sitting in the dark after a movie night, and in too-short conversations with family. But the lights are always turned on, and I return to what we call real life actively craving more.
But now, on Thursday nights I make the walk to Bunche knowing that there is a classroom where people want to hear uncomfortable questions. It is a space where we can agree, disagree, or be confused. I have been lucky enough to be allowed to learn by voicing my opinions, and truly value the open dialogue that GlobeMed creates. The solutions to the problems that we all want to solve will require it.