Zara DeGroot is a lover of autumnal candles, expert in petting puppy ears, and winner of the RMCA 8th grade Most Improved at Math award. One time, someone mistook her for Rob Kardashian. She is a sophomore Journalism and Media Communications major and a Business minor at CSU.
This past week was a noteworthy week at Colorado State! It’s midterm season, both academically and politically, meaning… I THINK I PASSED MY ECON MIDTERM AND MICHELLE OBAMA SHOOK MY HAND (the same hand that was wrapped around Harry Styles’ waist… *dips hand in wax*).
The First Lady came to CSU with the Mark Udall campaign to encourage students to vote, and encourage she did! Whether you are a conservative, liberal, independent, gluten-intollerant, Directioner or Belieber, you have to admit a visit from Michelle Obama is pretty cool. This doesn’t happen every week! I was struck with a sense of pride and patriotism.
For the past few weeks, innocent passersby on the CSU campus have been hounded by voting solicitors, getting asked a variety of questions. “Have you registered to vote?” “Can I ask you about climate change?” or the simple, yet scheming “Hey can I ask you a question?” No thank you sir, I just want to get to class and pass my history exam!!!!! It has been an big annoyance for students on campus. However, I do think voting is important.
Voting is a pretty consequential thing that we can do as American citizens. It’s a right that many of us take for granted. I’ve heard the excuse “we’re too young to know enough about the world to vote.” Well, let me tell you something: that is utter bullsh*ttery. It is your duty as an American citizen to educate yourself enough to know the basics of what’s going on around you. It’s called being aware, and if you refuse to do so, you have no place to complain about issues you’ve proved yourself ignorant of. Maybe your vote isn’t that monumental percentage wise or maybe you don’t think one single sheet with fill-in bubbles will make a difference. But think about this, if you don’t vote or share your opinion then you definitely won’t be putting your opinion out there and potentially making a difference. You are a part of this great country, why wouldn’t you want to have a say in how things are run around here?
That being said, here are a few tips on how to survive election season at Colorado State University:
1) Educate yourself
There is quite literally nothing worse than someone spewing their uneducated opinions in your face. First of all, yelling at someone that what they believe is wrong is not the best use your first amendment right (but it is your right, so go ahead if you must). Second of all, if you find yourself getting heated over a topic you know very little about, SIT DOWN. It isn’t that hard to know at least a little bit of what is going on around you since almost everybody talks about it at some point, so don’t make a fool out of yourself. No, you don’t have to know every single thing, but no one is going to listen and respect what you have to say if it comes from a place of ignorance.
2) Be open-minded
It’s going to be hard to find another person with the exact same beliefs and opinions as you. Everybody thinks and views the world differently. As a college student, you are one of the many receiving higher education and learning about the world, so do not immediately count someone out because their perception and opinion is different than yours. That being said, consult step #1 before you engage in debate. There is no reason to hate somebody because they don’t agree with your GMO labeling stance.
3) Stand up for what you believe in
I think we often get discouraged when we are presented with an opportunity to take a stand. How many of you have gone out of your way to help someone who was being mistreated or stand up for something that you believe it? I haven’t. We have a voice and we can and should use it.
4) But sometimes, hold your tongue
Don’t be that person who challenges every minuscule aspect of every topic. There is a place to speak up and there is a place to hold your tongue. Sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut and limp to class without saying anything. There are going to be people want to put you on the spot and get a reaction from you, but don’t give in! Pick your battles wisely.
Maybe you found this post annoying or you just don’t care about politics. That’s fine, just remember that you do have a say in how you think our country should be run and you should put that to good use!