My sister gave me some really good life advice before I started college: “Sometimes you have to be a little ninja.” A little ninja does not associate with any concrete set of qualities but overall embodies someone who is determined to succeed.
She told me this because as a woman entering the real world, there can be a lot of cards stacked against you if you want to work your way up to a leadership role. Some people will unintentionally (or in some unfortunate cases intentionally) think that you are not as smart, capable or skilled as they are because you are a woman.
Though that is not always the case, it is prevalent in some settings — especially politics.
When I heard Nikki Haley was coming to campus, I was really excited to meet a little ninja. Nikki Haley is a woman who has accomplished so much in her career and has transcended the titles of her many roles as a governor, ambassador and above all else, an American.
I look up to Nikki Haley as a strong female role model and as a young woman aspiring to work my way up the corporate ladder. Anyone can look up to her as a person with great passion and leadership skills.
Sometimes I feel as though college campuses foster the amplification of some political voices over others. At Elon, I have never felt afraid or discouraged to share my opinion in a classroom debate or essay assignment, but in social settings, I am afraid to share my views. The political spectrum has become so polarized to the point where some people will not like you simply because you don’t share the same beliefs.
For instance, my sophomore year I “came out” to my roommate as a Republican by asking if I could host a College Republicans gathering in the apartment. One roommate pulled me aside and said she wouldn’t feel safe having so many Republicans come into her home.
I ended up not having my friends over, and I noticed how after that instance, she was treating me differently. It was clear that until that point, she thought I was a Democrat, and when she realized I wasn’t, she didn’t like me anymore — suddenly, I was the one who didn’t feel safe in my own home because someone who I considered at that time to be a friend was painting me as a bad person because of my beliefs. This is when I realized the severity of political polarization.
With this awareness, I started to really analyze in classroom and social discussions why some students hold this negative attitude toward people who share my beliefs. Over time, I have come up with the hypothesis that when most Elon students think of a Republican, they envision an old white male.
With that, I am so happy that Elon invited a Republican woman to come speak because she breaks that stereotype. She is a strong, intelligent woman and was given such an awesome opportunity to speak to my peers — I am really looking forward to hearing her speech.