The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday October 28th

Column: Learning to converse more selflessly


If there’s one rule of polite company I deeply object to, it’s this: “Don’t talk about politics.” I’ve spent the last two years of my life employed by this organization and talking about politics, and they have been the most fulfilling years of my life.

There are a million things I’ve loved about working for The Daily Tar Heel, but the best part has been reading and engaging with the distinct views of our group of columnists and editorial board members. I love to talk, but through working with the individuals on our desk, I’ve discovered the joy and usefulness of stepping back.

Certainly my voice has loomed large by the very nature of my leadership roles on the Opinion Desk.

But the most exciting things I’ve discovered have not come from the editorials or columns I’ve written, or from ideas I’ve presented in our editorial board meetings.

Instead, they have always come when I’ve opened myself to ideas that are coming from somewhere different from my own. Those encounters have either shifted my thinking or helped to clarify my stances.

And all of it, especially my experiences with our editorial board, has taught me the joy of self-definition through dialogue and thought.

It grounds you in knowing what you can do well as well as what you can’t. It gives you freedom from being paralyzed by doubt, but the humility to recognize when other people have more useful things to say or do than yourself.

In many ways, the past few years have been a low point for our university and our state.

But through the passionate work I’ve seen in my own organization and others, I’ve found a lot of hope. My peers have shared so much with me through the mediums of argument and dialogue. They have helped me to recognize my privileges, be mindful of them and know when and how to use my voice.

The quality of conversations we’ve had can only beget good for our future.


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