Why It's Important To Vote As A College Student

Why It's Important To Vote As A College Student

"Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If there is one thing we are starting to see more of in the media lately, it's the 2016 presidential elections. If you're a college student, this is more than likely the first presidential election in which you will be old enough to vote. As a college student, I hear a lot of different opinions based on whether or not to vote. Many times I have actually heard, "I'm probably not going to vote because I don't get politics and one vote won't make a difference." It's easy to think of yourself as one voter out of millions, but what about all the other people thinking the same thing? Votes add up and yes, all these votes can make a difference in an election. The reality is, we're adults now and as adults, we are given this great privilege to vote.

So really, how does the whole voting process work?

If you don't remember how voting works from your 7th grade constitution class, here's a basic run down. We the people, technically only have a partial say in the outcome. Sure, your single vote may not change the direction of an election, but it definitely helps. In November, unless you are a part of the electoral college, this will be your final vote cast in the election. The popular vote is the common vote and it is basically the vote that gives members of the electoral college an idea of what the people are thinking. Think of this as a survey! Each state has the same number of electors as its U.S senators plus the number of its U.S representatives. We vote for these electors because they have to make such an important decision! These electors typically vote based on the candidate that won the popular vote in their state, but there is no official rule stating they have to vote this way. That is why a candidate can win an election even if they didn't win the popular vote. These electors are your final decision makers and place their votes in December.

Okay, I get it...but I still feel like my vote doesn't matter.

You're vote does matter though! The reason behind the popular vote and the electoral vote is because when the U.S Constitution was created, our founding fathers thought a sole popular vote was a little too risky, but they also didn't want to give congress all the power of voting for our country. So, this was the resulting compromise. We are at an age where we have the opportunity to voice our opinion (with a little help, of course) and we certainly shouldn't take this opportunity for granted.

I feel like I don't know enough about politics to vote.

You don't need to know everything about politics, but you should have a basic understanding behind each politician's views and how they plan to create change and guide our country. Think about how a president's decisions might affect you in the future. What line of work are you planning to enter? How will the president support your ability to pay off student loans? How will you pay for your medical insurance when you can't stay on your parent's insurance anymore? Side note: You can no longer stay on your parents health insurance plan when you reach the age of 26. Is there a candidate with similar values as you that you wish to see represented? These are all important questions to ask yourself before you pick a candidate.

Of course there are more specific and important methods to consider when narrowing down the candidates. Think about following the candidates on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. We are a generation that is all about social media, so keep updated with a candidate's campaign in your news feeds. The next easiest way to help guide your decision is by following the debates. If you didn't know or watch already, the first republican primary debate occurred on August 6, 2015. During the debates, a moderator will ask common questions that can help sway the public's decision. You may even find these questions interesting or something you've never considered, but important. You can base your decision off the candidates' responses, as these are questions they should be prepared to answer.

How will my vote change the future?

Placing your vote is just the beginning of how you can voice your opinion and change America. We are the next generation of leaders and it is up to us to shape our country the way we want. This leader will voice our opinions, aid in our decisions, and ultimately affect the lives we live for at least four years. Voting is maturity! It represents the point you have reached in your life to not just make decisions for yourself, but also for the ones you care about and others in this country. You have the potential to make history. Why waste this great privilege?

Popular Right Now

I Don't Refrigerate My Ketchup And Neither Should You

No this isn't really an article about ketchup

DISCLAIMER: If you expect to read an entire article about a bottle of Heinz, you are about to be severely let down.

You read the title right, I, nor does my family, refrigerate their ketchup bottles. It always kind of had to do with the concept of not liking col Look it up people! Contrary to popular belief, a ketchup bottle is not required to be refrigerated. Just think about all those room temperature bottles sitting on the tables of restaurants legitimately EVERYWHERE. So you may think I'm a weirdo (I mean, in part, you're not wrong), but to each their own. Maybe I do things a little differently, but just because it isn't your way, doesn't mean it's wrong. That doesn't mean you shouldn't carve your own path.

We hear it time and time again; you can be anything you want to be, as long as we work hard to get there. We'll even hear that it may be difficult to get there, but sometimes we aren't clued into the concept that the destination we strive to reach may not have a path associated with it yet. Perhaps it is you who has to create it. A linear path is boring, so go explore, go design, go make the most of this world. In doing so, you are shaping yourself and your own character, your own identity. If we followed the same path as the person before us, we would be stripping ourselves of innovation. In short, we'd be really freaking boring.

Why are we so quick to follow the leader? Why do we take the shortcuts? Why don't we trust ourselves in discovering some really amazing things in this life? I invite you to take a step out of your comfort zone and see this world from a different vantage point. I encourage you to trust your gut and go after what you've had your eye on for all this time. I applaud you for knowing that any journey will take time and great effort and that what you put in is what you get out, but that has not seemed to stop you yet. Along the way, you may turn heads; people may question your motives, some may be envious of your courage, but whatever you do, do not second guess the fact that you are not a sheep in the herd. You are leading the way to so much more.

Attached to this is appreciating that other people are carving their own paths as well, that we cannot get everyone to be on board with our ideas. In attempting to do so, I'd absolutely be dispelling what I've written about sticking to your guns for the past three paragraphs. So yes, there are a million ways to get from Point A to Point B. Some may seem practical, some may seem longwinded, some may require creativity, and some may be difficult to envision, but each invites us to take on a new perspective, to see life through a different lens. This breeds the opportunity to learn from human beings, see what sets their heart aflame. This is where we take a step back from our routines and our sense of normalcy and see the world through the eyes of someone else. This is where we master the art of compromise, put away our stubbornness for awhile and see how two ideas can merge together to create another innovative opportunity.

In my short 22 years, I learned early that if my options are slim, I can create my own. If my values are not matched with the world I am surrounded by, make a change. If my path and your path cross over and we don't get along, tell me about it, so I can learn and gain more understanding for this big, vast, place we live in. So really, try this whole ketchup thing. Be your own person. Don't be afraid to slip away from these hypothetical standards that we hold ourselves to. Set yourself a part and go after whatever it is you've been eyeing. You'll only be mad at yourself if you don't. And on the real, try not refrigerating your ketchup, it really is quite liberating.

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Poetry On Odyssey: A Comment

How easy it is for a comment online to spark inspiration, as well as a corrupted society

You thrive behind a machine.

You spite words you don't understand.

And cast blame on those who are easily unseen.

I wish you could comprehend,

The hate you create from your keys,

The soft clicking you use to defend,

Defending a means,

A means that brings people to their knees.

And not with hope, not with admiration,

But with a fear,

A fear that thrills the entire nation.

You decide to remain on a side.

A side that is all about you.

So I suppose, there is no better place for your pride.

You call us children,

For believing in change.

You call us alien,

But to us, everyone is allowed to be their own kind of strange.

We don't expect you to change your views.

We don't expect you to understand our truths.

But everyday there is different news.

We will fight for our right to be our own,

And stand together.

Helping and understanding.

Because our mission is to make the world better.

Cover Image Credit: via Flickr

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