I was once a Republican.
Now, in my defense, it was 1998, I grew up in Oklahoma, and I was pretty naive and didn’t know much about anything outside of my small town life.
But yeah, for a single midterm election in 1998, I voted Republican. It was during my first semester of college, and honestly voting in Oklahoma for anyone other than the Republicans on the federal level (or even the state level, most of the time) was an exercise in futility.
But I did it because I was, in that first semester in college, very much a Republican.
I remember the first time my college biology professor mentioned evolution in class. I had a bit of a tantrum, demanding to know how evolution could work if God existed. I don’t recall correctly, but the professor was far kinder to me than I deserved. He didn’t taunt me or belittle my beliefs, though he may have heaved a laborious sigh (this probably wasn’t a common position to come across when you teach science in a small, church-affiliated private university in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas). He said there was nothing in evolution that contradicted the notion of God or God creating everything. I wasn’t 100% convinced, but I subsided.
And by the time I came home for Winter Break a couple of months later, I’d be basically unrecognizable as that naive young man. I’m not saying Republicans are naive, just that I sure was.
I spent the next several years trying to tell myself and those around me that I was a left-leaning moderate, when the reality was that I was tipping so far to the left that I just about fell off that end of the spectrum.
I’m not saying education automatically makes everyone more liberal. I know plenty of well-educated people who nonetheless remain conservative. But it’s hard to go through several years of education in the social sciences and not come out of it thinking maybe the government needs to have some compassion for those outside the majority because, let’s face it, the government has spent centuries mistreating those in the minority.
tl; dr: College turned me liberal, and I’m super okay with that.