voting first time

Why It's Absolutely Terrifying To Vote For The First Time

Winter is coming, and by winter of course I mean the November midterm elections.

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When I turned 18, the world seemed like it was suddenly full of possibilities. Getting a tattoo or buying a lottery ticket were always ideas to me, but all of a sudden I had the capability of making these ideas a reality. Of course, I couldn't wait to turn 18 to be able to do these things legally. But of course, once I turned 18, I didn't actually want to do any of them. Isn't it funny how an idea stops seeming desirable once it's achievable? Well, there is one thing that's still desirable: voting. Voting has always been something I wanted to do, but now that I'm able to do it, it's really quite scary.

Don't get me wrong, the idea of voting is also exciting. I've always wanted to be a part of the government, but now that I'm able to, it suddenly seems a lot harder. When I spoke to adults about their first voting experiences, it seemed that most people started out voting for who their parents voted for without really bothering to care. But in today's political climate, one with polarization and a constant struggle for power and compromise, there's no room for carelessness. Like the cheesy posters in most government classes say, "Every vote matters," and in this day and age, every vote really does.

When I received my first ever absentee ballot three days ago, a feeling of eagerness and dread washed over me. I want to have my voice heard in America. I want my opinions to matter. I know what I stand for and what my beliefs are on the topics that I've always paid attention to, but now I'm suddenly faced with having to think about things I've never been exposed to. How do I feel about social security, or health care, or taxes? I'll be honest, in my daily life I probably think more about the Kardashians than I do Medicare, but now I'm being asked what I think, and selecting the name of the person that best embodies my opinions.

What's really scary about voting though isn't really the voting itself. It's the fact that because I can vote, I am now officially an adult. It won't be long until I have to start thinking about taxes and insurance and whatever else adults worry about that makes them so stressed all the time. Being a kid was amazing, but for all of us who will vote for the first time in the 2018 midterm elections, the time for being a kid is over. We are a part of society now, part of a movement, and it is time for us to matter. I plan to take this responsibility seriously, to vote as an educated citizen who is both concerned and capable of making a difference. I am an adult now, and I can say, it's absolutely terrifying.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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