First-Time Voter

First-Time Voter

An experience that was nothing like I thought it would be

I voted for the first time on November 8th, 2016, and it was nothing like I imagined it would be.

I went to a polling station in a neighborhood only five minutes from my own. I expected lines with hour waits at best, but when I arrived, I was one of only ten or so voters there.

A man stood outside the building and told me to get out my ID and turn off my phone. I did. Someone asked me if I was a first-time voter. Yes, I was. I got a shoutout and a few cheers from the peanut gallery. Thanks, but my embarrassed face said no thanks.

I was anticipating that someone would ask me for my voter registration, but no one did. I was expecting some grand scene, some great displays of patriotism, serious faces and wide eyes, but there were none. I got in line and filled out a form with my legal name and address. That was it. I handed my completed form to a lady at a table along with my ID, and she wrote something down and gave it back to me.

I moved to the next table where a man took my form and handed me yellow card.

While waiting in line for all of two minutes, my mom kept smiling. It was supposed to be a monumental moment, I suppose. Her kid was a grownup.

A voting box was open, so I stepped up. I placed the yellow card (that resembled a credit card) in the voting machine and pulled out a sheet with a mock ballot on it, clicked the screen a few times, and that was it. I took the yellow card back out of the slot and handed it to another lady at another table. She gave me a sticker, and that was it. I was a first-time voter. I had fulfilled my civic duty.

Welcome to America. I suppose this means I am an adult or a good citizen or some type of patriot. It feels more like I am a teenager who has waited her whole life for a completely anticlimactic moment, but I wouldn’t take it back for anything. The ease with which Americans can determine the fate of their country is mindblowing, and we are privileged to live in a country that allows us to have a voice.

It was easy to do. It didn’t take long to fill out the form and press the screen a few times. I was a first-time voter, and it’s over now. Somehow, I made a difference. With a little act, a piece of paper, and a computer screen, I contributed to the direction in which the world will go. I am left wondering how something so insignificant can be so extraordinary.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.


These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.


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