Navigating Young Adulthood: The Importance of Becoming an Engaged Citizen
January 24, 2020
Young adulthood seems to allow us to forget to keep up with the world’s current events. From major life transitions like moving out of our parents’ house to maintaining a work-life balance
Young adulthood seems to allow us to forget to keep up with the world’s current events. From major life transitions like moving out of our parents’ house to maintaining a work-life balance, we often forget to immerse ourselves in the world outside our bubble. As we grow older, the importance of becoming an engaged citizen not only helps us understand local and world happenings, but also allow us to make informed decisions when it comes to voting and supporting various causes. Being an engaged citizen is about understanding issues so that you can make a difference.
Engaging in the matters of our world come with great importance, as we become fully aware of our surroundings, preferences, opinions, and perspectives. One reason to stay engaged as a young adult is to maintain awareness of current events on a micro and macro level. On a micro-level, for example, it is about learning to understand the neighborhood, town, city, community, and geographic area in which you live. I find that the best way to engage with the community and see the changes and events taking place is to physically interact and converse with others who share the same space as you. When you grow up in a place that you have always called “home," the more significant it is to uncover the “adult" perspectives of the community. For example, the social issues and politics that lead your community. When you learn about the issues that affect your society, you are able to promote solutions and create opportunities to help address the community.
On a macro-level, engaging with current events extends beyond watching the local and national news. It is about seeking how to address current events and thinking critically about certain issues that stand out to you. When we engage with issues and events that are happening around the world, we want to be able to compare the impacts of them on other aspects of our lives. For example, how will the current political struggles in Greece affect us in the United States? Think about how the recent trade war with China will impact imports and tariffs on international products. Staying informed means much more than knowing recent occurrences. It is about using the knowledge to interact with the world around you.
Becoming an engaged citizen also expands your knowledge on a wide range of topics including education, social reforms, politics, health, lifestyle, sports and entertainment. Even if you are not one to read the news on a daily basis, you can grow your knowledge in any area of interest through other media. For instance, magazines can be a great resource for catching up on the latest health and lifestyle issues and trends. When considering magazines, however, I highly advise selecting and reading industry expert-led articles rather than tabloids. For those interested in understanding the main headlines of the week without reading an entire news article, sources like theSkimm act as a way for you to read a summary of the week’s major news. I would say social media is one of the biggest resources to helping you become an engaged citizen. I am both an advocate and a critic of social media use especially when it comes to engagement on issues and current events. Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, allows you to engage with others in a conversation about relevant issues that you may or may not know. For example, the twitter-sphere provides the space for advocacy on certain issues, which can be an opportunity for you to dig deeper into understanding the multiple perspectives of the issue. Knowing about general happenings around the world will put you in a spot that allows you to develop your own perspective on certain topics and have the facts to make a stand for issues you care about. As a result, your status as an engaged citizen will elevate you as an advocate and supporter of specific causes.
Most importantly, being an engaged citizen plays a large role when voting. In order to make informed decisions on our nation’s politician, it is important to understand the policies and reforms being presented, as well as the issues that each politician supports. Without knowing what is happening in the world at this moment, it is near impossible to cast an effective vote. Though we can never completely stop seeing all that is happening in the world, we can continue to use our surrounding environment and resources to support and address various issues, whether it is through voting, fundraising, or running a petition. The more aware you become as a young adult and citizen, the better chance you have at informing others and helping everyone else become engaged citizens.