Perspectives: A Plea for Diversity

This year I will be a columnist for my school paper, the McGill Tribune. Check out my first article below!

A Plea for Diversity

In my high school creative writing class, we were taught the difference between prose and verse. These two main literary techniques have very different purposes. Prose is considered the “straightforward” form of language, while verse can be complicated and harder to understand.

Since high school I’ve repeatedly returned to this difference and wondered how we can value such different ideas. Some people consider the point of prose to be clear, and the point of verse to be everything but. Works of the former are generally long; the latter short. Yet somehow, we spend days, months, even years debating the meaning of verse in poetry (Milton’s Paradise Lost and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland are two poems with hundreds of different interpretations) and spend an equal amount of time treasuring shorter, apparently “simpler” novels. Prose and verse each have their own distinctive merits.

When I first arrived here at McGill three years ago, the one thing that struck me was that there were so many different opinions and ideas I had never encountered before. My childhood bubble was gone. I entered the “real world,” nervous and excited to learn from other people. Some of that learning happened in my classrooms and conferences, but it also happened through interacting with students from all over the world, attending controversial General Assembly meetings, and reading the McGill newspapers.

Last year, I didn’t feel that I learned enough or experienced enough diversity at McGill. It seemed like everyone was saying basically the same thing, and frankly it was pretty boring. I spent a semester abroad in order to expose myself to more people and ideas, but it wasn’t as successful as planned. Although I valued my time abroad, my program consisted mainly of Americans with similar educations, backgrounds, and, most importantly, worldviews.

Entering my final year at McGill, I wonder what the class of 2011 has learned. Did all our opinions merge into one because we spent four important years of our lives together? Are we too afraid to express our real views? Or has apathy simply become the new norm? Where are the aggravated readers sending letters in rage to the Tribune? Where are my peers who helped me in the beginning to step out of my bubble?

When I found out I would be writing a column for the Tribune this year, I was excited by the thought of expressing my views-and representing some of yours-on issues we all care about. I want this column to provide a space for those hidden voices to be heard, for readers to be exposed to all kinds of views, whether or not I agree or disagree with them. We all deserve to be heard, and I want to hear your voices. I hope to provide you with some additional perspectives from which you might not ordinarily look at things. Agree or disagree with me-just find your perspective and share it.

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