Two years ago, I was a typical 20-year-old. I went to school, had a part time job, and had no idea what I was doing with my life. That summer, I went to FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network, mostly because I had nothing better to do. The conference changed my life. In addition to meeting many fantastic free speech advocates, I met students who worked with Students For Liberty.
My father raised me with a healthy skepticism of government, and my mother taught me from childhood that rights are inalienable and cannot be legislated. My first memory of this is from when I was about two years old. I told her that if I ever became president the first thing I would do would be to make cigarettes illegal. She sat me down and told me that I couldn’t do that, and even if I did, it wouldn’t work. “You can’t tell people what they can and can’t do with their bodies,” she told me.
While I have always been a libertarian deep down, my beliefs were not something I thought about much until I was 20. Of course I was dissatisfied with the way things are, but I never considered that I would be in a position to affect change, at least not for several years after I had left college and entered the “real world.”
And then I discovered Students For Liberty. When I met these people at the CFN conference, I was immediately fascinated by their world. I wanted to be one of them. Here were college students who, like me, went to class and work but were also part of the growing student movement for liberty, actively working to create change. They, like me, were concerned with preserving liberty and making the world a freer place. Unlike me, they were doing something about it.
I was hooked. That year, I started the Madonna University Students For Liberty on my college campus. The day the applications for the 2011-2012 SFL Campus Coordinator class opened, I applied.
Joining the ranks of SFL leaders was a defining moment of my life, and now, on the brink of graduation, I feel like I have accomplished so much more in my college career than just studying and going to parties. I started a pro-liberty group on my campus and helped other student groups on campuses in my area. I have networked with students and leaders in the liberty movement. I have focused my passion for writing into means of furthering the message of liberty. I have found that I can create change and I do as a Campus Coordinator with SFL.
Students For Liberty has built upon the lessons instilled in me by my parents and turned me into a leader that they can be proud of. It has become so much more than just an organization to me. SFL has given my life a new direction, using my talents and skills to spread liberty. It has given me a new family, because the people I have met through SFL have become some of my closest friends. Students For Liberty has changed my life in more ways than I can list and the debt of gratitude I owe to this organization and the people in it can never be repaid.
As I walk at graduation next weekend, it will not be as a 22-year-old suddenly thrust into the real world. Instead, I will walk among my classmates as a confident leader. My life isn’t completely figured out, but I know what I want to do now.
My father passed away several years ago and won’t be there to see me graduate, but I know he would be proud of me and all I have accomplished. I will continue to fight for the freedom he believed in, for the principles he told me this country has strayed from. I will fight for my mother whose own college years were spent fighting for freedom, protesting the tyranny of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, her home country. I will fight for my best friend, whose parents fled Poland because of Communism. I will continue to fight for you, for students and alumni of liberty whose dedication to liberty has so inspired me.
For all of you, I will continue to work towards a freer world, for liberty. #FLib.