Elders must not assume student voters are ignorant

Opinions Columnist | Journalism Sophomore

College students are informed enough to make their own decisions regarding politics and play a crucial role in the voting world.

I have had enough of the stereotype that college students know nothing except how to party and use Twitter. It is beyond annoying to constantly receive raised eyebrows and condescending remarks from older folks when I try to talk about politics. I listen to National Public Radio (NPR), I can understand conversational references to politics and I know what I am talking about—why is that so hard to believe?

College students are in confusing stages of their lives during which they are not yet full-fledged adults, but at the same time are not children either. During this awkward stage, it can take time for those already initiated into adulthood to recognize students as grown individuals rather than children who should not speak unless spoken to. College students have voices, and contrary to popular belief, they are smart enough to use them.

To assume students are not informed about political issues is to make an untrue generalization, one that can come off as degrading. Students have grown up in an environment saturated with information and have learned to use it in order to play a crucial role in politics.

Just like all other stereotypes, the idea that college students do not know the issues or do not care is completely false and unfair. I am definitely not saying that every single student is a political junkie who is constantly tuned into C-SPAN. Some college students would rather keep up with Wendy Williams than Wendy Davis, but that does not mean every single one is oblivious to politics and world issues. Saying that students are not informed enough to know the issues or are altogether oblivious to the political world is making an unfair generalization.

People should not be so quick to lump all young college students together or label them as ignorant. This generalization is false. People seem to forget that college students seek higher education to learn, not party. Believe me—no one, not even the most oblivious student, wants to rack up $50,000 in loans just to get drunk and party.

The fact that people assume college students are too lazy to bother with politics is completely absurd. Students are engulfed in an academic setting. Part of the everyday in college is learning and discussing ideas and events. Contrary to the popular belief, social media does not take away from students’ credibility. In fact, with mediums like Twitter and Facebook, it is easier than ever for students to keep up with what is going on around the world. Modern college students are embedded in a learning environment and have information at their fingertips, so being acquainted with world news and politics comes naturally. Unlike older demographics that typically struggle with social media and Internet usage, students consume a plethora of political information on a daily basis.

There is power in the youth vote. To say otherwise or to diminish students’ value in political discussion or in the voting process because of age is demeaning and disrespectful.