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Vanessa Rivera

Florida Gulf Coast University

People see a young Spanish woman and immediately think that I am a liberal. For some reason being a conservative is associated with white old men who have billions of dollars and want to rule America. I never thought much about the “stereotype” until I got to college.

Before going to college I wasn’t challenged in what I believed in. I knew of people who didn’t agree with my beliefs, but things were always civil. There comes a time when your beliefs will be challenged and ripped apart—this may even influence the grades you get. That time for most will be in college. I first started attending Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013 and I was in for a shock. Not only did people disagree (which is to be expected), but if your ideology didn’t align with theirs, horrendous insults would be hurled at you.  “How could you like the party who is pro white men?” “Do you hate women?” There are the types of questions I was greeted with in my “open-minded” discussions.

It is so important to stand by your beliefs and research them and stand up for them.  In 1920, we did not just receive the power to vote. We received the right to vote and choose candidates based on our personal ideologies and beliefs. No one expects young women to stand by their opinions and support them with facts.  It is expected that young millennial women will partake in the crowd mentality and buy into liberal ideology. Forming a chapter of NeW at FGCU has given me a community of young women who believe in the same things I do and want to learn more about a whole spectrum of issues. Having this network is a constant reminder that I am not alone and that being a conservative is more than the social stigma or the “cool” thing to be.

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