During the course of your college career, you are bound to come across both professors and students who you disagree with. Especially in social science classes, where it is encouraged to voice your opinion on various topics, differing opinions will inevitably come up. These disagreements are fairly easy to ignore if they are about surface-level topics, but more serious topics are more difficult to brush off.
What is the right way to deal with this?
I think dealing with students who have a different opinion than you is a bit easier than dealing with professors because we tend to be much more comfortable talking to people our own age. Therefore, it is easier to approach our peers about a disagreement than it is to approach professors who we are meant to learn from and respect.
We are taught to value the information that our professors are telling us, so it can seem daunting to openly disagree with them in class. But sometimes our opinions matter so much to us that we feel it’s necessary to voice them.
In my opinion, the correct approach is to have a civil, open conversation about whatever the topic is. It is important to remember that the other person thinks the way they do for a reason; we need to put ourselves in their shoes before we have a conversation.
I think the best way to handle this situation is to ask to meet up in person, whether with your peers or professors. This will allow everyone to voice their opinion and hopefully understand the other point of view better. Instead of going into this conversation with a hostile attitude, I think it’s important to approach it with an open mind—just try to have an honest conversation with the person.
It never hurts to hear someone else’s opinion on something; it might even broaden your horizons or make you think of something in a completely different way. Nobody loses in the situation: either both of you leave the conversation without changing the other person’s mind or you learn something new.