We all know that Miley Cyrus said it best. Much like her, I encountered challenges in my climb through freshman year. The most important and valuable challenge I faced was setting my priorities straight and deciding what was most important for both my time while in school and after I graduate. Sadly, I have not come to a definite answer, but it is a continuous challenge that I continue to grow from every day. Deciding exactly how much energy to put into classwork is a big decision because people do burn out. I feel that I’m on the right track so far, and figuring out exactly what I want to do with my time (and tuition) here is a sub-challenge that is just as difficult to deal with. I found that being confident in the decisions I make is one of the most important traits to have because otherwise I would always be second-guessing myself and get nowhere. If I could tell myself something in the beginning of this year it would be to not worry about things I might think I messed up or failed. Some of the most influential and respected people I’ve met here all seem to emphasize that making mistakes is the best part of learning; nobody can teach you what it feels like to mess up, so only you can fix it.
I am very happy with how my semester went. I love that HSSP gave me a place to call home here at the University of Michigan. My involvement in club soccer and the kinesiology professional fraternity gave me a solid base for extracurricular activities, and I like how my classes ended up. I discovered a lot about what I want to do with my education, and I now know that getting all As is not very feasible. Next semester I want to work on my time management, but that will be easier without club soccer practices and games taking time out of my schedule. I have made a lot of friends in and outside of HSSP, and I can’t wait to keep meeting new people. I also made a girlfriend. I thought I wanted to join a fraternity this coming semester, but I was wrong. I’m excited to see how semester goes after break!
The recent events surrounding the controversial racist posters raise a multitude of questions and concerns. Some people, a majority even, may instantly join the side of the argument that does not condone these posters whatsoever without thinking twice. I personally agree that these posters are utterly wrong and the morality behind the messages doesn’t exist. But, we live in a nation and a community that promotes many freedoms that prove to be controversial every day: freedom to carry guns, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc. The basis behind these freedoms is legislative, and our democracy chose to create these freedoms to protect the opinions of anybody and everybody. But at what point do higher powers have to step in and say certain actions are simply too much. For the same reason you can’t scream “FIRE!” in a movie theater or “BOMB!” in an airport, and given it was known who put up the posters in the first place, should the culprits be in legal trouble? And, should actions like this that would be considered free speech be illegal even though they don’t put any person in immediate danger such as the “FIRE!” example?
You don’t have to agree with something for it to be legal, which is exactly why we have a government and a legal system in the first place. But, this is a case that fits so well into the grey area of free speech that it can’t help but be discussed. On the other side of the issue, one could consider the people who took down the posters infringing on free speech of those who put them up. Again, controversy is natural, and without disagreement, nothing would ever change. The morals challenged in this case are extremely severe and completely generalized to a racial group, but it serves as an example for other cases that may not be so extreme. So, my fellow HSSPers, where is the line drawn for free speech (in this case or in any), and how do you think the University of Michigan deals with the freedoms we have on campus?