For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Mar 17 2016
by Kyle LaHucik

Why National Politics Can Be Frustrating in College

By Kyle LaHucik - Mar 17 2016

National politics can be quite frustrating for a college freshman, especially when that freshman is living through the 2016 Presidential Race. And, in our social media saturated society, this race is fueled by Twitter, Facebook and other media platforms (even Snapchat).

So, why does it matter that politics are frustrating in college? Why are the politicos so overwhelming and overpowering when it comes to the mind of a college freshman? And why is it important to foster political beliefs

For most of us, this is our first time where we have been exposed to political ideologies on a large scale. Our professors, peers, clubs, etc., are providing us with a variety of political initiatives. On a college campus, politics plays into nearly everything. Who will get that position? Who will you elect for the next club president? The list goes on and on. 

College provides us with big waves of information. We aren’t taking year-long courses anymore, now we are taking semester courses that provide us with a more narrow focus and usually at a faster pace. Our general education requirements are introducing us to topics we’ve never studied before, and our major-specific courses are educating us on a more in-depth level than ever before.

In college, we form a wide variety of communities, getting involved in many different organizations and clubs, fraternities and sororities. These new communities teach us about politics, mainly in the form of informal conversations and sometimes uninformed/uneducated opinions.

For most of us, this is the first time we have to think about politics in our own terms, not in the viewpoints and perspectives of our parents.

Then there is the inevitable: politics are hard to talk about. Sometimes it destroys a relationship if you have opposing political viewpoints. Or, sometimes political discussions bring about tough topics of conversation--abortion, immigration, war, health care, etc.

But, we are in college to get an education. Hopefully that education, and self-education, will provide us with the necessary tools to exercise our rights as active citizens in our democracy.

Yes, politics are frustrating, but there are ways to overcome the confusion that comes with an influx of information and political opinions. Although it's difficult to deal with the steady flow of diluted, heavy information, it is important that we take that frustration and use it to our advantage. Our college education and experiences are what educate us. The political data, messages and policies that we are introduced to are what allow us to think, to engage in the conversation.

If we can overcome the initial vexation that comes with politics, then we can play a part in transforming society, one policy and one politico at a time. We can work through the frustration by educating ourselves and being open-minded about all the information and knowledge that we take in during college. If we close ourselves to the viewpoints of others, then we aren't actively and efficiently participating in a democracy; we are just causing the frustration to rise – one of the main synonyms of frustration is setback. Gaining a broad spectrum of knowledge will then lead you to think deeply about the issues and policies that affect our government and our society. 

When it comes to politics, thinking for yourself can be irritating and political discussions are not easy, but these are the conversations we need to have in order to move our democracy forward. The 2016 presidential race is an important one. Engage in the conversations and educate yourself on the policies that will transform our society for the better.

Then, the frustration will ease; you will know that you did everything in your power to contribute to the advancement of society.  

Lead Image Credit: Kyle LaHucik. 

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Kyle LaHucik - University of Missouri

Kyle LaHucik is dual majoring in International Magazine Journalism and English at University of Missouri– Columbia. An avid enthusiast of the outdoors, he loves to run, travel, photograph and write about our world, one place at a time. Reading the New York Times and National Geographic while drinking coffee are major facets of his life. Follow him on Twitter @kyle_lahucik.

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