Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Car Rides

bothsidesnow's picture

During the last couple years of high school, I would carpool with one of my friends who lived in the next town over because he lived ten minutes closer to our school. We had carpooled previously with other nearby students while our parents drove all of us, but had not spent a lot of time just in each other's company. Now, with the freedom that our licenses granted us to our own transportation, we could talk freely about everything and anything. In that time I learned so much about this person who I had thought was very closed to the world due to his discomfort and resulting silence in group settings. However, what really drove our conversations were his politcal views that had transcended thoughts on the workings of the world's governments and planted themselves deep in his social observances and interactions. He considered himself a socialist, sometimes even a communist, which had gained a few perturbed looks when he proudly admitted it to our peers in class discussions. I considered myself liberal but had only inherited my thoughts from my parents' dialogue after watching the evening news. Pushing me to really think about my opinions and what I was saying, I would become frustrated with his constant questions about why I thought a certain way on a subject or decision, regarding more than just political views. I wasn't used to this kind of conversation, where not only I had to state my opinions but give reasons to them. Most people accepted the answers others gave to them, nodding in a faux-interested way or briskly moving onto a different topic but he would not. I started to become more confident in what I shared about my preferences and feelings, since before I had just quickly chosen an easy option of agreeing with my peers or parents on certain subjects. I began to think more for myself and not for others, it mattered what I thought and why I thought it, not them and their thoughts. I realized that I needed to provide myself with information and obtain it throught a variety of sources rather than just the people around me. Though we do not see each other as often since we are at very geographically distant colleges, I will continue to consider the tough but stimulating push that he provided in our daily conversations to and from school.