An Open Letter Offers Sage
Advice: "Dear Pro-life College Student"
By Amanda McClone
Editor's note. My youngest
child is home from college for Christmas break. She will be
entering her final semester in college next month. As she leaves
university life, it reminded me of the importance of offering
freshmen in college sage advice about what they will face and
how they can help the Movement while in school. Amanda McClone's
counsel is very much worth reading.
What is growing up about if not
taking charge of your own future--which includes deciding what
is important and what isn't--and then making the world a little
better because you are there? Life is taking what you've learned
and what you believe and changing that into action.
So you're pro-life? What will you
do about it when you move from the security of a relatively
small high school to what often is a gigantic, impersonal
college? Glad you asked.
Getting ready to move on to the
"big college experience" is exciting and maybe more than a
little unnerving. Responsibility, freedom, and excitement were
all words that were ringing in my mind as I was getting ready to
start college. I was packing and deciding what to bring:
clothes, sheets, computer, books, and the like.
But as corny as this will
probably end up sounding, for me the most important thing to
bring along were my pro-life beliefs.
One of the biggest differences
from high school, where often everyone knows everyone, is not
knowing where your fellow college students stand on the life
issues. When I stepped foot at Marquette University, it was
really important for me to make those pro-life connections. To
be honest I was afraid I never would, if I didn't do it right
The following may help you
understand your place, your responsibilities, and your
privileges as a pro-lifer on a college campus.
1. Letting people know you're
I was curious how my roommate and
people in my dorm felt about pro-life issues. By putting up a
poster in my room that said "Life is precious," there was an
awfully good chance I'd find out.
Sure enough, I received many
comments and engaged in a lot of great conversations. Many were
from pro-lifers who otherwise probably never would have spoken
up! But it was important that some were from pro-choicers, who
wanted to genuinely debate the issues. Pro-lifers love to
Either way, unique opportunities
were now available to share information with my peers. This was
especially true for the ones who didn't actually approach
me--the people who were just there watching.
It can be tough to put yourself
before a sometimes hostile public, but consider the cause we are
advancing! Speak up; you never know what you can do and you
never know who is listening.
2. Meet the connection:
Finding the Students for Life group on campus and getting
Knowing there was a "Students for
Life" group on my campus, I searched them out. They welcomed me
with open arms.
Students for Life groups are
always eager to meet and greet new members. I was nervous about
not knowing anyone, but I made friends fast.
Abortion, euthanasia, stem cell
research, and other issues related to our cause come up all the
time in college classrooms. I thought I had already learned a
lot in high school, but it quickly became obvious that pro-life
activities and speakers operated on a much higher level in
By expressing interest I was able
to get involved right away, make tons of new pro-life friends,
and find my niche on campus. And, just as in high school, it's
reassuring to have peer support.
3. Create the connection:
Starting a Students for Life group on your campus
But what about college campuses
that do not have a pro-life presence? A lot of my pro-life
friends from high school attended colleges without pro-life
groups. Their answer? They started them on their campuses! You'd
be surprised how easy it is to do this.
This allows you to bring up the
issues, create interest, and just go for it! (Contact NRLC
and/or local right to life chapters for information and
assistance on starting your own group).
At my college there are a huge
number of pro-lifers on the Students for Life email list and
even more pro-lifers on campus not on the list. But as is the
case with any organization, only a small percentage of those
actually get involved.
You can choose to see the glass
as half-full or half-empty. I think in terms of what might be,
not what isn't.
I ask myself what would happen if
every pro-life college student took an extra second to find a
pro-life t-shirt to wear to class, or raised his or her hand
when a pro-life issue came up in a lecture, or used a study
break to attend a students for life meeting? What a colossal
difference it would make!
I remember attending a pro-life
convention where I heard a phrase that always runs through my
mind when I am nervous about taking action: "If you don't speak
up, what will happen? Nothing."
I'm just not willing to allow
"nothing" to happen, and I suspect if you are reading this
article, you aren't willing to settle for "nothing" either.
Something has to happen because innocent lives are lost everyday
to abortion and euthanasia. And that "something" can be you.
I'm not saying that it will
always be easy. But what your peers are learning today, they
will take with them into the workforce and pass on to their
families. What message do you want them to hear?
I'd like to end by debunking the
unwarranted generalization out there that young people are
apathetic, or that they will just sit back and wait for someone
else take action. Well, sure there are a lot of people out there
like that of all ages, but I know that I am not one of them.
Neither are you. No matter where
you go or what you do, you have to take what's important to you
with you. If you are reading this, I am confident that speaking
up for the innocent and vulnerable is near the top of your list.
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