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An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty

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When I first sat down to write this article, a thousand different ideas ran through my head. This was my final opportunity to voice my opinion on a plethora of things that I have seen as major issues or stories. I debated on addressing issues ranging from media outlets’ misrepresentation of issues to issues of angry Auburn fans.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are more important things to be recognized than just the negative issues or events that I have encountered in my four years at Alabama. I want to leave this university highlighting and appreciating many of this campus’ positive qualities that make it such a wonderful place to acquire so much more than just an education.

Looking back on my time at The University of Alabama, I have always been a positive person. I have not been optimistic for four years because I thought that’s what was best for the student body. I have been positive for four years because that is who I am. If I had written an article critiquing the people or events that have discouraged or slighted me, I would have been no different than those I see as the largest threat to the progress of this university. By constantly focusing on the worst parts of our university and our state with no action, we move nowhere, and forget to properly acknowledge and value the numerous brave, kind and generous actions of people on this campus.

I have watched administrators buy a hungry student lunch and offer them assistance so they can support themselves. I have seen a group of students lean on each other after one of their closest friends tragically passed away. I have comforted grieving mothers of students who were taken far before their time, who only wanted for their child’s death to serve as a lesson to others.

This university is not perfect, and neither is this state, but in my four years on this campus, I have witnessed countless actions that make me certain they are both heading in the right direction. The University of Alabama can no longer be paraded around as a sign of Southern ignorance; the world has grown too small for that. It is now a microcosm of people from all 50 states and countless nations. The issues that face this University are issues that everyone faces. We have been given an outstanding opportunity to face these issues, address them and emerge as stronger and brighter.

It is the sorority presidents that received piles of undeserved hate mail, when all they tried to do was stand up to their alumni. It is the minority students, who had the courage and maturity to join these sororities after being turned away initially, and it is the administrators, who made it possible for all of us to move forward as a University, that embody the reasons why this University is the best place in the world to spend the most important four years of your life.

The opportunity to surround yourself with such outstanding people in extraordinary circumstances is invaluable. I implore all of you to seize that opportunity. Do not shy away from conflict or controversial issues. Put yourself in the middle of these issues, and see what is really happening, rather than trusting the slanted view someone else may feed you. I guarantee you will be the better for it. Because “the pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity but, the optimist see the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Jimmy Taylor was the president of the Student Government Association.

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An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty