Expressing opinion is a valuable learning experience


The Appalachian Online

Dewey Mullis

We are all familiar with the phrase that places opinions in the same category of an unmentionable body cavity because they stink and everyone has one. I prefer, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

Deep down inside of all of us is an opinion waiting to burst forth. Social media and every unfortunate soul that mingles with us become subject to those opinions when we just can’t hold them in any longer.

The only opinions people tend to like are their own.

Only on rare occasions do our own opinions challenge pre-existing notions of our peers. An even more rare phenomenon occurs when the writer is challenged by the opinion of others. Being challenged by your own opinion is flat out painful.

Andrew Cox, one of my best friends, a former roommate and past editorial cartoonist for The Appalachian, told me I needed to stop writing long Facebook statuses and start putting it all in print.

I was hesitant. My opinions couldn’t be deleted from news feeds, I could no longer respond to positive or negative feedback, and someone had to edit it before I published it. I could only guarantee my Facebook family would appreciate the move from one medium to another.

It has been a process. I had to force myself to become informed before becoming opinionated. The facts had to be spot on – reasonably debatable at the very least. Surfing the web for topics relatable to my audience seemed like more of a Google search marathon. Once I found an article with a topic I could roll with, I had to find three more sources before I made a fool of myself.

My first thought was I was doing too much work just to write my opinion. Now that I’ve been writing for a while, I’ve realized it is more than that.

There are things opinions should and should not be.

They should be informed, respectful and clear. If all else fails, be presentable. One of the best feelings of accomplishment comes while reading a response to my article that is angry, unintelligent and is littered with grammatical errors. They wholeheartedly disagree, which is fine, but they eagerly discredit themselves by not meeting the standards set forth by what I’ve presented.

So, here is a challenge: come write for us at The Appalachian. We always need educated, diverse and challenging perspectives to keep the conversations going.
Mullis, a senior criminal justice major from Wallburg, is an opinion writer.