Hi, I’m Lucy, a second-year Arabic and Islamic Studies student at the University of Exeter. As a mouthy teenager who enjoyed the daily form time “discussion” (an ill-informed 15minute shouting match), the adjective of ‘political’ was associated with me before I could name you the leaders of the opposition parties.
My formative experience with politics was the Brexit vote in 2016, which shocked me so much I failed my last GCSE exam. The devastation from the left and the pure elation from the right was so distressing I genuinely thought the world would fall apart. The conversations around me were of grave predictions of the dystopian future we’d allowed ourselves to fall into and everyone else who didn’t believe that was “ignorant” or “stupid.” However, these conclusions were neither accurate nor helpful to the situation and completely ignored those who had taken time to research their decision and whose lives were affected daily by the EU. Although I am staunchly remain, dealing with the outcome of the referendum was made far easier by learning why it happened rather than perceiving it as an unpredictable, inconceivable event.
This also made me realise I could never know everything (something I find deeply infuriating) therefore my opinion should always be evolving or at a bare minimum should have the capacity to be changed and challenged. I find liberalism allows me to explore a spectrum of different beliefs without the restriction of betraying a party, fostering tolerance and understanding- a welcomed change from my previous methods of engaging in politics.