If you would have told the younger me my first time voting in and covering an election as a student-journalist would be one this historic and intense, I simply wouldn’t believe you.
I don’t think the younger me would ever believe that I would find interest in voting in an election, let alone ever be interested in politics at all.
Yet here we are.
With a dreadful year like 2020, I would say I am pretty glad to cross some exciting first-time things off my long list.
At the least, it’s bringing me some joy and memories I’ll get to hopefully tell my future kids and grandkids.
But the amount of anxiety and stress I’ve had about the election results as a first-time voter and student-journalist is higher than I ever imagined. Given the candidates and where we’re currently standing as a country, I’m not surprised by my anxiety and stress.
From the Polling Place 2020 podcast to watching every debate and local race for my politics class, going to the polls for the first time and early voting was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done.
The final results may or may not go the way I want them to, and as a first-time voter, I have quickly realized that I at least made my voice heard and I did my civic duty of participating in the voting process.
There is change to still be made and I am willing to do whatever it takes to learn how to make that change happen regardless of the final results.
Voting may be the first and the most important step, but it certainly isn’t the last step.
Because my life depends on it. The lives of my peers depend on it. Your life may depend on it. And most importantly, future generations depend on it.
And while I’ve gotten maybe three hours of sleep every night and I’ve spent many of my waking hours stressing out about the results at The Vidette building, covering the election has been quite the experience, to say at the very least.
I will admit that spending countless hours staring at a computer screen and staying up until the early hours of the morning is never my favorite thing to do but being a night owl makes the time and process fly by faster.
Being a student-journalist and a first-time voter in this election may not be fun, but I know my voice needs to be heard and I know our generation is capable of making that change.
To know that I am writing history that future generations will look back at in years and decades to come is important, and I know I have to continue sticking it out and working hard to tell every story I can.
Through the beauty and the pain of it all, hopefully the future me is thanking me for voting in this election and getting this experience anyway.