I grew up in a small town in southern West Virginia where, generally, there is little ideological diversity. I was surrounded by people who thought the same way as me. Last year when I came to George Mason University as a freshman, I experienced a bit of a culture shock when I found out not only that most people my age were liberals, but they expressed a genuine dislike of conservatives and their ideas. Because my beliefs had rarely been challenged, I needed to develop the skills to defend what I believed. I quickly found a home on campus with the College Republicans and George Mason’s emerging NeW chapter. Since being involved with these organizations, I’ve learned that being a conservative is not something that I should be ashamed of. It does not mean that I am uneducated, bigoted, anti-woman, anti-minority, or any other of the slew of insults that have been thrown at me. I am a conservative because I believe in individual liberty, individual responsibility, equal opportunity, and limited government.