Why college students should care about politics

Bayley Baker Contributor

I get it. You’re busy.


When you’re a college student with hours of homework due on any given day, plus the added responsibilities of a part-time job (or two or three), keeping up with a social life and getting enough sleep at night, it can be hard to care about things that seemingly don’t impact you directly.


You may consider politics to be one of those things. After all, the political news cycle and constant social media firestorm can often feel exhausting and annoying, so why not just tune it out and carry on blissfully unaware?


Like I said, I get it. But the thing is that politics do impact you directly, no matter who you are, and it’s important to care and stay updated on current events and political happenings. The reason why is because many of the issues debated on a presidential primary stage are issues that hit close to home. One obvious example is college affordability, but paying for school isn’t the only issue we should care about. How about women’s reproductive rights? Gun control? Climate change?


Young people hold tremendous political power in the United States and have the potential to dominate the U.S. electorate. By 2020, 27% of the U.S. constituency — over 54 million people — will be between the ages of 18 and 29. Harnessing that power and getting young people to the polls could effectively determine the course of policy in this country for years to come.


Perhaps even more important are the state and local elections that impact you even more than those at the federal level. Voting in local elections allows you to participate in choosing state legislators who have a key role in approving higher education funding, improving working standards for your post-grad job, and more. 


Studies and polls consistently show that while college students do sincerely want change, we are often overwhelmed, cynical, and ill-informed about how our government works. The first step in overcoming these roadblocks is the conscious decision to care. Only after you do that can you begin educating yourself in earnest about political participation and the issues that impact your daily life.


Edited by Jessica Galvin, Adam White