Finding your love for politics at a young age can be difficult. Like any young politico, you will likely be a minority among your peers. For instance, you will quickly realize that most normal people did not stay up until two in the morning to watch Pennsylvania turn red in this last presidential election and probably have not been constantly tuning in to watch Senate confirmation hearings in their free time.
You will also be criticized for voicing your opinion at such an early time in your life. No matter how much research you put into different subjects and areas of study, your youth will still prevent many from taking your perspective seriously. It is important for you to understand that this happens to all of us and, in the long-run, it is actually beneficial. The criticism you will be exposed to will motivate you to sharpen your speaking skills, further your education, and learn to articulate your positions better.
However, it is also useful to learn from others who have experience in the political field. Here is some helpful advice from other C-SPAN junkies who have walked the same path that you soon will:
- Kelvey Vander Hart
Kelvey is an activist for Turning Point USA and a Staff Writer for Hypeline. From working as an Ambassador at CPAC to serving as State Director at Millennials for Ted Cruz, Kelvey has gained excellent experience in the world of politics. When asked what tips she would give to young politicos trying to get their foot in the door, she replied,
“I would say get experience any way you can! There will always be great people to campaign for, great politicians and political appointees to work for, and great organizations to partner with! Experience is key, and you gain so much from it. Get it however you can.”
2. Nick Castle
Through his work as Florida Regional State Director for Turning Point USA, Nick Castle has guided activists from colleges across Florida in starting up their chapters on campus and learning how to inform students about the importance of free market capitalism, fiscal responsibility, and limited government. Nick has also served as a Field Representative for Texas Governor Greg Abbott. His advice for young people interested in becoming politically involved centers around listening to different perspectives, asking questions, and remaining flexible for any opportunities that become available.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You may never learn new skills or meet new people if you don’t ask questions. Also, be an attentive listener. Try to remember small factoids that people tell you so that you can bring it up next time you talk to them. This will prove that you remembered who they were and took the time to actually listen to them.
Don’t make enemies. A lot of politics is about connections. If you make enemies and burn bridges wherever you go, you won’t last long in this field. I have learned that politicos talk and network like nobody else and everyone knows everyone. You don’t want to develop a bad reputation. It can literally end your career before it starts.
Be willing to relocate. It is helpful to have many different contacts in different parts of the country. The more contacts you have, the easier it is to find a job.”
3. Aaron Donofrio
Serving as a contributor for Hypeline and a National Chairman for High School Students for Carly Fiorina has given Aaron exposure and experience in politics. His political involvement has inspired him to continue interning for other public officials in order to gain more experience.
“I would say the best thing to do is start off by volunteering on campaigns. I got my start there, and it set me up for much greater things. Also, if there is one or two policies that you find interesting, do research and try to find blogs where you can share your opinions on those topics.”
4. Alex Solomon
Alex began his journey in politics a year ago, yet he has already started a College Republicans chapter at Rider University and is currently the Political Director on a State Assembly campaign at only twenty years old. Alex advises those with political interests to get involved locally and as early as possible.
“It is always great to have a big name, such as a presidential candidate, as the title of the campaign you are working on. However, local campaigns really give you the best opportunity to learn. Also, attend fundraising events for state legislature candidates and try to meet local party officials and operatives at these events.”
Entering politics at a young age can be challenging. However, if you remain determined, take advantage of state and national opportunities, and network with those who have experience, I promise you will find your place and achieve more than you ever thought possible.