I hope y’all are doing well!! I’ve had a very busy week of independent study work (including interviewing the Mayor of Durham) that I’ll write a separate post about this weekend… This one is for my end of quarter reflection!! I’ve had a great time researching increasing young voter turnout, so it’s hard to believe that I’m 1/2 of the way done. In my reflection, I’ll cover the content that I’ve processed, my actual process methods, and what is in store for Q2. Enjoy!!
So far, I’ve done research about current events and the upcoming election, essential events in US history, as well as experts’ strategies for increasing young voter turnout. Topics covered regarding current events include the fate of vote by mail, current candidates’ strategies, and statistics around the election. Topics covered by events in history include how certain candidates increased turnout in the past, the history of voting rights and suppression, and more modern occurrences of voting issues. I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions during this time–I’ve been pleased to see new developments in turnout (this year looks promising!!), though I’ve been shocked and saddened to discover disturbing parts of our history around voter suppression. Some new questions I have are 1) should the required voting really be age 18, and 2) how could we enforce registration in the law more?
It has taken me a little bit to figure out my process of learning for this study, though I think I’ve gotten the hang of it now. For me to get a balanced perspective of current politics, I can’t spend too much time doing research or too much time volunteering–I need a mixture of both. This has proven to be a challenge for me because it can be difficult to schedule times to interview people or sign up for volunteer events. However, I’ve learned that adaptation is my friend, and I shouldn’t go into this experience with too rigid of structure. To show that, I’m spending this upcoming week solely volunteering since I feel like I haven’t done it in a while. If anything, I think I need help with forming my final project. I have a lot of amazing info–interviews with friends and officials!! Phone banking!! LOTS of research!! But I’m not sure how they’re going to combine into one, cohesive productive yet.
This upcoming quarter, I’m planning on focusing on the aftermath of the election. There will be a lot to learn–what candidates did that went well or badly, what statistics show in terms of trends, and shifting towards forming my final product. One thing that I feel like I’m missing right now is conversations with political researchers. I have online research and conversations with people, but I would like to get insight from a person that can easily combine those two. Their thoughts are an important component of my study that I haven’t explored, so I want to reach out to some professors at local universities and organizations. I’ve already done that some, though most people involved in politics seem to be slammed in preparation for the election. Hopefully, I can get some of them to sit down with me and talk afterward!!
All in all, I’m pleased with how far I’ve gotten in my study, and I’m excited about this next chapter. It certainly hasn’t been perfect, and I plan to use issues with quarter one to become more efficient and productive in quarter 2. I will certainly keep this blog updated on the way, so look out for more posts!! There should be another one coming out this weekend since I HAVE to share my work from these past two weeks!! Stay tuned.