#thetimeisnow

Why students should write opinion pieces Writing opinion pieces allow students to improve their writing skills, refine their opinions and make their voices heard

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This is a shameless self-promotion. You should write for me. Seriously. I’m a nice enough editor and I’ll be eternally grateful if you choose to write. But beyond doing me a favour, writing for the opinions section can be an extremely rewarding experience.

For one, writing an opinion piece is a lot different than simply stating your opinions aloud. When you write an opinion piece, you are forced to confront your own assumptions and really delve into why you hold the opinions that you do. This can lead to the strengthening or even complete change of beliefs. At the very least, writing an opinion piece will force you to understand the nuances of your opinion.

You’ll also have to argue effectively, or at least learn how. No one will agree with your opinions, even important ones, if they are not well-substantiated and well-written. Thus, writing for the opinions sections provides the unique opportunity to format your opinions in a formal and argumentative way that is meant to convince others of your stance. Not only will this help persuade others to think similarly but the ability to effectively communicate your thoughts and beliefs is an essential skill for almost all professions.

Speaking of professions, writing for the opinions section is a fantastic opportunity for students for a multitude of reasons. You’ll inevitably become a stronger writer, an important skill in today’s job market. When you write for the opinions section, your piece will likely go through several rounds of editing before being accepted. You will essentially receive feedback on how to become a better writer, something that is difficult to obtain outside of classroom assessments that have the risk of grades attached. If all goes well, you’ll also be published, which is an incentive in itself.

Writing for the opinions section also allows you to make your voice heard. Do you think that our opinions section focuses too much on certain issues and not enough on others of equal or greater importance? Do you disagree with some or all of the opinions that are published? Are you tired of reading opinions from the same person each week?

These are all valid criticisms but they don’t mean very much without any action. Sure, you can post a lengthy Facebook comment, detailing how much you hate The Silhouette’s opinion section and disagree with all our published articles. But that comment probably won’t reach a wide audience. The only way to actually make a change is by writing opinion articles yourself. Disagree with something we wrote? Write a counter-piece. So long as whatever you write falls within our guidelines, it’ll undergo the same scrutiny and revision process that all other articles are put through.

University is the perfect time to form new opinions. Now is your chance to refine and make these opinions known. If you ever have an idea for an opinion piece, please send me an email at opinions@thesil.ca.

 

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Author: Sabrina Macklai

Sabrina Macklai is the Opinion Editor for Volume 89. A fourth-year Integrated Science student completing her thesis in analytical chemistry, she is a wearer of many hats - so long as the hat sparkles! Since she was a child, she’s had a love for the written word and has been involved in several publications including scientific journals and creative writing magazines. She firmly believes that everyone has a story to tell and it is her ambition to help as many as possible share theirs with the world.