Farewell: Viewpoints Editor reflects on time at the Hilltop

I first started writing for Hilltop Views my junior year. I had gotten into a pattern of debating people on Facebook for my own entertainment, which is not the most healthy activity. I started writing for the newspaper as an outlet for my political opinions. I found a place where I could articulate my views, have them peer reviewed and published. It has turned out to be much more satisfying than Facebook. 

Leaving my friends here at the hilltop and Austin in general is something that is terrifying, but I know that this next step is something I am ready for. In the fall, I will start law school in Connecticut, a completely new place with completely new people. I’m extremely thankful that I can look back on my time at Hilltop Views with a positive association. I learned skills here that I would not have been able to gain anywhere else.

The most important lesson I have learned through my time as the viewpoints editor is the importance of keeping an open mind. It is really easy for us to fall into an echo chamber and deny that we are in one. I grew up in a very conservative suburb and I noticed everyone had the same opinions, so no one questioned the way they thought. St. Edward’s is the same but instead of being conservative, it is liberal.

I consider myself a liberal because I believe in being open minded. We should want to hear opinions that are different from our own and we should engage with those opinions rather than dismissing them. If we genuinely want to pursue progress, we have to engage with people we disagree with and persuade them that we are right. I find that sometimes my peers think that signaling how liberal they are is more important than the end goal — progress. 

Exposing my peers to different perspectives was the most enjoyable part of my job. I can proudly say that I received comments on pieces that I published that outraged both people on the left and right. This meant I was doing my job; my fellow writers and I were asking important questions and challenging the way our readers thought. 

To the writers and editors who follow me, I have one final message: challenge yourself and learn to be okay with being uncomfortable.