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How can I get involved in politics as a high school student?

#politics #government #international-affairs #world-politics # #political-science #college #high-school #internship #help #volunteer #college-major

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Oliver’s Answer

This is a great question, and the good news is there's lots of ways to get involved in politics as a high school student. I've listed a few potential ideas below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. I think the most important advice I can give is to put yourself out there and / or volunteer wherever you can. There's tons of opportunities -- you just need to get out and seek them!

  1. Student Government: While this isn't exactly "politics" in the traditional sense, it's a great way to get hands-on experience in the area of government more generally. Running campaigns, organizing committees, forming coalitions, and working with constituents are critical skills for any politician. Working as part of your Student Government will give you an opportunity to develop these skills right in your local high school.
  2. Model United Nations: I'm not sure whether your school has a Model UN group, but this is a great way to get exposed to the world of International Diplomacy. It's essentially a simulation of the real-world United Nations, and many schools even compete against other schools in local or regional competitions. Model UN was one of my extracurricular acitivities in high school and I had an amazing time!
  3. Debate Team: If you've ever watched a presidential debate, you know how important debating skills are for any career politician. In my experience, the best politicians tend to be great communicators: they can communicate complex ideas in simpler terms and, just as importantly, can convince / inspire others to share their view. If your high school has a debate team, you can begin developing these skills right there in your classroom. And even if you don't end up going into politics, those are skills that will serve you well. The ability to communicate effectively is one of life's most important skills!
  4. Volunteer: If you're craving "real-world" political experience, I'd highly recommend volunteering for a real-world politician or campaign. Whether you're interested in something local or national , there's loads of ways to get involved: door-to-door canvassing, phone banks, fundraising -- the list goes on! The 2020 Presidential election will be in full swing pretty soon, so that's a great opportunity to start. If there's a particular candidate you're interesting in supporting, you should be able to easily find volunteer opportunities right there on their campaign website.

I'm not a career politician, but I did a lot of political activities in high school and really enjoyed it. I hope this advice is useful and encourages you to get involved. Our country needs more young people in politics!

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Isabeth M.
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Julie’s Answer

Such a great question. Something I did in high school was intern for my local congressman over the summer. You'll find that some congressional offices won't take any interns below the university level, but if they're willing to have you on board it's an awesome experience!

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Did you reach out to your congressman through email to ask about opportunities? Isabeth M.
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Viansa’s Answer

A great way to get involved in politics as an activist in high school is to do fundraisers at your school (if your school allows) for causes important to you, such as the refugee crisis, abortion, women's safety. If not at your school, you can easily do fundraisers on your own. In addition to donating money to special causes, this also helps raise awareness around your school. The MUN club from our school holds a day party and the entrance fee donates to the refugee crisis. The environmental awareness clubs donate to studies about climate change.

Another way which you can get involved is to hold particular awareness days at your school. At our school, we have several days of celebration for minority history. We often hold student-run events for Asian history month, African American history month, Latin History month... These are a great way to recognize often glossed-over parts of our history.

Lastly, remember to write about your beliefs and publish them! Let your voice be heard. You can write to your local newspaper. I know my newspaper is always looking for young people to write columns about their beliefs. Write articles on medium, run a blog, or write an analysis paper on a historical topic that interests you.

Thank you comment icon Thank you this answer was very helpful and I will definitely try to start some of the ideas you mentioned. I have actually always been interested in writing an analysis paper on a historical topic. Any tips for how to do so? Is there any way I can have my analysis paper published? Thank you once again. Isabeth M.
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Melisa’s Answer

Hi Isabeth,

Thank you for your very thoughtful question. While there are already some great answers here already. I would just add a couple more thoughts.

1. Does your local government offer opportunities to shadow someone for a day and learn more? In our town, they offer a “Mayor for a Day” opportunity which is a lot of fun and very insightful to into various areas of our local government.

2. Volunteer. As Oliver also shared, volunteering for various opportunities can get you the experience and exposure to politics. Many local legislators in your area are often looking for volunteers for events, campaigns even just to hand out information or march in parades. They will also appreciate your help and interest in helping and you never know where the valuable connections you make may lead you.
Best wishes for success in your education and career goals!

politics volunteer

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Check out the website for your local town’s government to see if there are volunteer opportunities and ways you can meet with or shadow individuals in your area.
Consider seeking a mentor or someone in politics or a career that interests you, so you can ask them additional questions or also shadow them for a day.
Keep asking great questions of others, like this! Thank you.
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Quinci’s Answer

As a high school student if you want to get involved in politics try going to your city council meetings or see if your school has any type of political science clubs. Or you can talk to a history teacher because they know what it takes to get into political science. You can also start watching the news on tv so you can be educated on current political events.
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