When I was a freshman in high school, I never had any interest in politics. I thought that politics were ridiculous and I wanted nothing to do with the subject. Clearly this has changed seeing that I am now writing for a political section of a magazine.
Political awareness is something that has played an important role in my life and should play an important role in the lives of young people everywhere. Being politically aware is beneficial to everyone. When one is politically aware it allows them to be able to vote for who they think is the best candidate. It also allows people to support causes that they believe in and become active in changing the world for the better.
I think there are many young people who should be more interested in politics. Not simply because I am, but because political happenings play a big role in the future of this country. Here are some steps for young people to become more politically aware and become more involved.
Photo: Thomas Kelley on Unsplash
Decide what part of the spectrum you occupy.
The political spectrum has many areas where one may fall. Many people believe that it is just left and right, but there are many spaces in between. One way to decide where you are is to take a test from the Political Compass. This test asks a series of questions involving different aspects of different political beliefs. At the end of the test, it will explain what each combination of answers means. A link to this test can be found here. Also, remember that political affiliation is not set in stone. Taking a test once does not determine everything about someone’s political beliefs, it is just a start in understanding where one lies on the political spectrum.
Being politically aware comes with a responsibility to take part in what you believe in. Get active in organizations you stand behind. For example, I lean more left politically and I have gotten involved with organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and I am looking into volunteering for Planned Parenthood. Regardless of which section of the spectrum someone is on, getting involved with what you believe in is important.
Keep up with what is going on in the world.
Another part of political awareness is keeping up with what is happening. I watch the news about every day and frequently check social media happenings for events I may be concerned about. This allows me to reinforce my beliefs and also be aware of what other causes I might want to support.
Vote! (If you are eligible)
The final, and most important, part of being politically aware is voting. It may not seem important at first, but every vote helps decide where this country is going. Do some research on different candidates too, make sure that who you choose really would be the best choice according to your standards. When election time comes around, do not just vote in the general election; be sure to vote in the primaries and keep up with local elections as well. Every individual who is elected to office helps decide the direction of this country, regardless how big or how small their role may be.
Apathy for politics is a trend that needs to be left behind, especially at such an interesting time in history. I encourage everyone who does not yet know their political affiliation to take a deep breath and dive into the world of politics. Whether we like it or not, it does and will continue to play a massive role in the progression of society.
My name is Baylie Clevenger and I am 19 years old. I plan to attend Ball State University this fall and major in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. I have been writing since I was 15 and plan to do so for the rest of my life!