Bella Dunbar: Strong opinions, no, but strong decisions, definitely

August 30, 2018

Opinions have never been my strong suit. As I write that, I can hear my parents scoff and see my debate opponents rolling their eyes. Regardless, it’s true. No matter how much research I do, I never feel informed enough to become rooted in a certain stance. As Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley put it, “I am not a person of opinions because I feel the counter arguments too strongly.”

Whether it’s a local issue or a global conflict, I learned at a young age to put myself in each perspective. Even when I can’t understand how it feels to go through such tragedies or historical events, I work to comprehend the reasoning for every side.

Debate has helped foster this skill by ensuring I can argue both sides of a point. I am grateful I have this ability to avoid getting stuck in one way of thinking.

However, being opinionated is helpful and, in some ways, essential for decision-making. Being able to indefinitely argue either side doesn’t help when you have to pick one. This past year has communicated to me the importance of making decisions; a fact that will only be accentuated in upcoming years.

Luckily for me, these columns have been fantastic practice in the intricacies appearing between cautious, unopinionated and indecisive. Writing these articles has helped me discover that I am not devoid of opinions; it’s a matter of choosing which to stand behind.

I have had to recognize that I don’t know everything about each topic, and I can’t. My responsibility is to use the information I do have to accurately share what I believe, while preparing to learn from being challenged. In life, it’s not much different. We have to do the best we can with the information we have and be ready to swallow our pride if that inherently limited information leads to mistakes.

And so, it’s about more than deciding. I do not know all the facts and, no matter the amount of research I do, I never will. That’s life. If everyone was paralyzed from the fear of all they didn’t know, nothing would ever happen.

As I choose what colleges to apply to, what majors to do, what careers to pursue, and every other decision that comes with living life, there will be a large degree of uncertainty. I may refrain from being a “person of opinions,” but I must be a person of decisions.