I was in your shoes once. I was the high school student who was scared to voice my opinions because I knew I was in the minority. I was the high school student who would sit in class and listen to my friends talk about how awesome the Democratic candidate was and I knew correcting them would only cause a fight.

I wish I had spoken up. I wish had told my friends what I really thought. Why? Because my opinions mattered before I knew it did. My opinion in high school could’ve changed somebody’s mind. My opinion was necessary in the classroom, because hearing the other side of the argument is rare.

So here I sit, about to graduate from college reflecting on my years in politics this far.  I wish I had started in high school.  I wish I had started sooner, but apathy runs rampant in people your age and I was that way once too. You have the ability to change that (like encouraging your Bernie-loving friends to actually pay attention in economics, but that’s neither here nor there).  Here is 6 pieces of my advice for you:

1) Politics is not easy. Politics is not for those with thin skin or immature behavior. People will say things to hurt you and will be relentless in doing so. You have to turn the other cheek. It’s not easy to ignore someone telling you that you’re ugly, that you should have been aborted, or that you are the scum of the Earth, but you have to ignore their comments and carry on as though they haven’t said it at all. You have to remember that when these people start calling you names; it is because they have no facts on their side.

2) Get a mentor. I can not stress having a mentor enough. Your mentor can guide you in the right direction or help you back up your opinion on an issue with facts, whether it be on Facebook or the classroom.  I had a mentor in college and he kept me sane. My mentor taught me to love politics and not give up when I felt defeated. Do not be afraid to ask someone you look up to for help, because many people in the world of politics are likely to help you and take you under their wing.

3) Do not burn bridges. Do not slander someone’s name in politics. Do not try to turn people against their friends because that person will find out and your future in politics can be ruined. I know of a couple of people who spoke poorly about someone or name dropped someone in a negative light and they will not have a future in politics because of it. With that being said, do not tell everyone something if they told you not to. Keeping your word is extremely important (maybe not for politicians but it is for activists).

4) Volunteer on campaigns and network to the fullest. In order to become involved, you have to start at the bottom. I started off by door knocking and phone banking. To fully understand the way a campaign works and how to talk to people about a politician’s positions, volunteering on a campaign is the way to do it. This is where you learn to articulate your message as well as learn to articulate your own stances. This experience will prepare you for activism. Networking is something you have to master if you’re involved in politics. Meet people, remember their names, remember what they care about. I have people who reach out to me from my time working on the campaign I volunteered for three years ago.

5) Always be kind to people on your side of the aisle. You can hold someone accountable for giving up their principles for the purpose of winning an election but don’t do it in a public place or on social media for everyone to see. It works better to go to that person and ask them directly inside of aiming for retweets or likes. It’s okay to disagree with some of your best friends, but don’t turn it into a social media fight because believe me, political circles talk and word does get out.

6) But the most important thing for you to do as a high school conservative is to keep your head held high when it seems that everyone is against you. The first time, you might get the liberal trolls coming after you on Twitter and you might panic. Don’t do that. Don’t let the mean people in politics turn you away from our good message. 

You think; therefore, you are a conservative.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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