By Hannah Meibers, The Miami Student

I have spent a lot of my time this week pondering what opinion piece I should write for the Student. With the stress of the new semester and the always-changing political atmosphere, I knew spitting out my opinion on these topics would be a dud. Then I began thinking: What is an opinion?

We all have our opinions, and naturally we all believe our opinions are the only right ones. The media is saturated with varying opinions, whether they are about something out of our control, or something more personal. Finding someone without an opinion is very rare. All we have to ask is, “What do you think?”

But how many people do we know that can say without stuttering, “I think ____, but I could be wrong”? That is, how many of us concede that we might be flawed in our thinking?

With that in mind, how can a more intelligent and thoughtful opinion be formed?

Maturity is key. Developing a more mature perspective allows us to gain an organic view on the situation. If we cannot approach someone with an opinion in an inside voice, it’s best to keep our mouths shut. When we are younger, it is understandable as to why we have filtered opinions. We have grown up listening to our parents, our friends, etc. give their opinions, so it is no wonder we just blab out whatever comes to mind. However, it is expected that as we grow, we form a more grounded perspective.

Also, we should avoid biased assimilation. The media has done a wonderful job at dividing its readers and viewers. Some sites, articles and news channels are more liberal, while others lean more conservatively.

We are accustomed to taking in information if it confirms the opinion we already have. For example, our Internet search engines factor in the kind of articles we are reading online, whether they lean left or right. This small weapon the Internet holds can create a bubble around our opinions, narrowing them and cancelling out our credibility.

However, this does not mean we should refrain from being skeptical of others’ opinions. Asking questions is how we get answers. And without answers, we would not have opinions in the first place. Not only does skepticism allow us to question others, but it also allows us to question ourselves.

I know it may seem wild, but it is important to be comfortable with being wrong. The best way to accept being wrong is to be honest with ourselves.

meiberhl@miamioh.edu

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