There are some pretty stark differences between liberals and conservatives in the political realm. Most high school students unknowingly choose their political party based on their parents’ preferences and teachings, but that changes. Once you leave the wholesome confines of your parents’ house, and enter into the chaotic world of college, even the staunchest conservatives tend to become more attracted to the liberal agenda. And it’s got nothing to do with your so-called “liberal” professors.

Equality For All

So your new, randomly selected roommate is gay. Your Spanish teacher is here on a work visa from Mexico. Your favorite professor is an intelligent woman who can’t get a raise.

These are not extreme situations by any standards. You start to see that there’s nothing wrong with your roommate’s sexual preference, and you want him or her to find love and happiness and all the rights that come along with marriage. And you know what, Ellen DeGeneres is funny and philanthropic, and she deserves it all too. Your Spanish teacher can’t stick around for your Spanish 200 class because his work visa expires, and he hasn’t been able to get citizenship, or because his wife is here with him and she is getting deported. You wish your favorite professor could get the raise she deserves so she could teach more classes you actually want to take, and you see how unfair the world can be. College kids break the bubble their naturally more conservative parents have created at home, and start to see the world through a new pair of eyes.

A Woman’s Right To Choose

You enter a time when there’s a lot more going on between the sheets than ever before. For you, your friends, and for strangers across campus, the libidos are flying high. You’re thinking about the Big Picture, the Future, and the Right Now all at once. All forms of contraception suddenly become important and necessary. Even if you play it safe, you realize mistakes happen. Or, in extreme cases, your girlfriend or your friend gets raped, pregnant, and wants an abortion. You see firsthand that normal, everyday people might actually have a need to abort a pregnancy. And you understand. You may not know what you would do in that situation, but you suddenly realize that you don’t have the right to make that decision for someone else.

Social Responsibility

Most of the time, people within a single school district come from somewhat similar financial situations. In college, you’re suddenly thrust in a class of 5,000 people who couldn’t be more different, at least financially. You may have money from your parents, but your roommate can’t afford to eat on days when the dining hall is closed. Or maybe you realize you can’t splurge on a night out because you simply cannot afford it. Or, finally, your friend has to work a 30-hour week on top of 5 classes, just to get by. Conservative and liberal kids start to see that just because you work hard in life, it doesn’t mean you get all the wonderful things you deserve. And that people who say money doesn’t buy happiness have never been hungry.

Thinking For Yourself

On the whole, 18-24 year olds are naturally more liberal than their parents’ generation. That’s how the world works. When you’re in college, the world becomes smaller through technology and close contact with foreigners, but you also get smaller as you grow up and become more generous, more thoughtful, and more aware of the world.

Now, at the end of the day, this doesn’t mean that college converts 18-year-old Republicans into 22 year-old-Democrats. It just shows that the political climate is changing with each future generation. Throughout history, liberal ideas are suddenly conservative as attitudes and opinions change and progress. Change is progress, and you never change more drastically than those four years in college.