My first column. I cannot lie: I am a small fish; the Aggie is a big pond for me.
The columnists were given the option of writing an introductory column this first week to, you know, introduce ourselves. I’m using this as my get-out-of-jail free card because I didn’t have anything prepared. It’s hard to write something so serious though, especially about yourself, because it makes you sound self-absorbed. Trying to write something comical makes it sound like you have no self-awareness. Everyone knows what I’m talking about. People who read the editorial columns are some of the most critical people in the world. (This is a good way to make some fans.) But we can’t lie. We all, myself included, read the columns and make judgments on what people have to say. It doesn’t help that there’s a little picture of them in the top corner, as psychologically I’m sure that facilitates the cynicism.
Them. I mean, Us.
But that’s what we’re here for. We voice our opinions, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, just for the campus and community to constructively criticize. Hopefully we can open some minds and shift some paradigms, but sometimes it’s a stretch–
What a coincidence. No joke, I’m sitting in the MU patio, trying to type this and I am experiencing exactly what I predicted people would do as they read the columns. I suddenly heard a butchered version of my name (Sara Ko-ha-ga-dee? No, its KO-GA-DAI) along with some of my fellow columnists‘ names from a near by table. This is a summarized version of the conversation: Person A: Is it good? Person B: No. Point-in-case.
-Anyway. As I was saying. The point of a lot of these columns is to give you all a piece of our minds. Whether it’s about politics, economics, pop culture, religion, school or irrelevant stuff that comes up, we have the opportunity to express it through these columns.
What I want to express is a voice for others. I want to be the medium through which the unheard scream out loud. Minority groups, marginalized groups, communities facing adversity: I live for the underdog. I swear I rooted for the Giants during the Super Bowl solely because they were the wild card team. People hated me for that. I’m sure Eli Manning would appreciate it.
I believe strongly in compassion, empathy and advocacy. Not in that order. Actually put empathy first, then compassion, then advocacy. In that order. The more people that advocate for others, the more acceptance we can have between groups, the less hatred there is. I almost deleted this entire paragraph and replaced it with: I AM AN IDEALIST.
Anthropologists believe that every group of humans has a rationale for what they do. Even the strangest of rituals in a culture have some sort of logic that they follow. This ideology can help get rid of some of the ethnocentrism even the underdog groups mentioned earlier show. As a side note, if you have the chance, take Cultural Anthropology with James Smith. I promise he will change the way you look at the world in the most logical, intuitive way.
Anyway, by showing the community some of the issues that other people face, my goal is to invoke, again, first empathy, then compassion and ideally advocacy for one another. What follows are safer communities, fewer hate crimes and eventually – cue the idealism – world peace!
OK, OK, OK I’m not that idealistic. I do have a somewhat complex notion of the world and how I feel about world peace can be left for another day. But I still want to emphasize the importance of, at the very least, understanding each other.
And by writing this column, I want to better myself as well. I don’t mean to put all the weight on campus and community. I want to always learn something about somebody new. I have roughly 28 weeks, and 28 columns to write. There’s only so much I know, and so much more I can take in from others. I have my own beliefs and opinions about certain things that I hold strongly to as well and this column is me committing myself to getting out of that comfort zone.
If you believe in world peace as well, and want to hold hands and kumbaya contact SARA KOHGDADI at email@example.com.