GUEST COLUMN: My opinion on being a snowflake


I wake up in the morning and hazily make coffee, begrudgingly put on jeans and a t-shirt that I pull out of the dryer, and sleepily make my way out the door. I go to classes for my final — most challenging semester. Between calculus, German, and neuroanatomy, I have not much time unaccounted for. I see my boyfriend in the transition between his classes, and I proceed to make my way to work. After a few hours of rigorous lab preparation, I find myself driving home, probably bopping in my car to some lame country song that was popular before I was old enough to remember its release. What makes me so special?

I’m a snowflake, whatever that means. Why? 

Honestly, I’m not quite sure. I learned of this characteristic trait of mine when I took a stand to defend students who are being made to feel less than welcome at my beloved university. Some wise, older man was kind enough to let me know how truly special I am. Over the past several semesters, more and more instances of racial injustice, bigotry and judgment against anyone that challenges the norm have been popping up in the most unexpected places. Between disgusting messages written on doors, hate speech defended online and other instances of deliberate spite, I honestly don’t know how some students feel welcome here at Central Michigan University. I am certainly beginning to feel less and less like I belong.

So what is a school divided to do when people want to share their opinions, or to inform the world of the life-changing cure of systematic hate by…wait for it…growing thicker skin? Do we applaud their diversity of opinion? Do we turn away and chalk it up to times not yet changed? Do we sit our snowflake-selves down and try to make a difference to a world of people with steadfast beliefs on both sides? 

Surely, there has to be something we as a community can do. While I don’t know if there is one single solution, I feel like there are so many things we can all do to perhaps grow a little on the inside. 

Exercising my self-proclaimed expertise as a snowflake, defender of all that I believe is good and equal, I want to tell people how we might get through this. 

The first, and most important step is to breathe, and recognize that 1) an individual’s opinion is not objectively right or wrong while simultaneously allowing yourself to recognize 2) that one person is definitively not more or less than another. 

Before you say, type or write whatever it is you’re about to, take the extra 10 seconds to think about how you would feel to be the person you are about to engage. Think about what it is that you hope to accomplish, and if it is worth accomplishing here and now.  

If you are the person who is a target, ending up on the ugly side of an unfortunate barrage, you have to try as hard as you can to understand that for every person who has something seemingly putrid coming out of his or her mouth, there are many more who think that you are wonderful in all that you are. 

Breathe again. Realize that you are significant. You are loved, and you were made to accomplish many things, like the many people around you. 

Am I really a snowflake for thinking that we need to think of each other as whole, before we continue in what’s best for only ourselves? 

Am I a snowflake for perhaps letting my own opinions remain unsaid if they might make someone’s opinion of themselves that much worse? 

Am I a snowflake for thinking that we should pick each other up, and spread a shred of positivity in light of all that’s recently happened?  

If so, I’m so very delighted to be one of many, inconveniencing people as winter storms often do. 

- Rebecca Peters, Mayville senior