I have often wondered, if I were true to myself, would I be a glass 1/2 full, or a glass 1/2 empty kind of girl? I think I am pretty positive, I go with the flow, but I am also a skeptic in many ways. With social media, blogs, articles, reports, and everything “they” say (who exactly are “they” anyway???), the temptation is so great to just argue the opposite opinion. While earning my MSE, two of my professors, (the killer K’s) would randomly comment about my style of writing. On more than one occasion I recall taking the opposite side of an argument just because everyone else was in a “follow the crowd” mood. Many times I didn’t even agree with the argument I was making.
However, what we wrote did not have to be based on a personal belief. We just had to research and present our material. When writing research papers and discussion posts, we are not suppose to be giving our opinions, the point of the work was to do research and present a factual argument. Nowhere in the requirements did it state we had to believe our arguments. Most people just usually picked the side they believed on a personal level.
One week during debate, I purposely chose a side that I disagreed with. What I found early on in school was that if I chose a side I truly disagreed with, it actually helped my own personal argument of what I did believe later on in life. Being able to break down the issues from both sides is a strong factor because you know how to combat your opponent and how to anticipate what they are going to argue.
Did I change anyone’s opinion? Doubtful. Most of my classmates were probably just annoyed that I excelled in arguing. Most likely they also think I believe teachers know what they are getting into and shouldn’t complain about their wages, and that they should be grateful they only work 9 months out of the year. For the record, I don’t, but that was the side of the argument I had to make.
In essence, I became the devil’s advocate, always stirring the pot. In turn, it made me a better writer and researcher. I now know how to strengthen my own arguments, and anticipate my opponent’s moves. So, the next time you see me write something, don’t just assume it is my personal belief. I may be writing to spark some conversation, or start making people think deeper than the resources right in front of them.