By Elise Schoening
Almost every student on campus tuned in to the 50th Super Bowl celebration on Sunday, Feb. 7 — whether it was by watching the game online, in friend’s room or on the big screen at the College Union Board’s Annual Super Bowl Party in the Brower Student Center.
Yet, I wonder how many of these same students watched the Democratic and Republican debates that took place earlier in the week.
I’ll admit it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of college life. Juggling coursework, extracurricular activities, friendships and even jobs can be near to impossible. The joke that college students can only choose two of the following three options — a social life, good grades and enough sleep — has become less of a punch line and more of a painful reality with each passing semester.
It’s important to keep in mind that these grand and grueling four years at the College are meant to prepare us for “the real world” that lies beyond the small town of Ewing, N.J. It is simply a matter of months before we will embark on the dreaded first-job search and move away from home to create our own lives.
When this time comes, the national issues currently up for debate, such as healthcare, taxes, immigration and foreign policy, will start to impact our daily lives. Suddenly, who won the Super Bowl won’t seem nearly as important as the question of why your medical costs are so high.
But why wait until graduation to start caring about theses issues? In the eyes of the law, we are already adults. At the age of 18, we granted the right to vote and told that our opinions matter.
This right to participate in a free, democratic election is a luxury that other nations are still fighting for. Still, many Americans seem take this right for granted, as evidenced by the fact that only 58 percent of the total eligible voters participated in the 2012 general election, according to the Huffington Post. Young voters, specifically those between the ages of 18 and 29, repeatedly have the lowest turnout of any age group.
With the absurd number of candidates included in this year’s election, it can be hard for anyone, let alone an overworked and under-rested college student, to keep up. Throw in some terribly under-qualified politicians (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump) and it becomes even harder for young voters to take the election seriously.
I get it – it’s much easier and arguably more fun to watch the Super Bowl with friends than it is to watch the political debates.
But with the Iowa caucus behind us, the election is finally starting to take shape. Now is the time to pay attention because the next few months will be crucial in determining which candidate is able to garner the most support, and as a result, win the presidential nomination of their respective political party.
I know we’re all busy students struggling to just make it through the week. Still, if I learned anything during Super Bowl Sunday, it’s that we all find a way to make time for the things we believe matter. I think we can all agree that the upcoming election is worthy of at least some of our hard-to-come-by free time.