Like so many people at university, I'm being told that now is when life really starts. But one thing at the back of my mind has been bothering me - I am not sure what is happening out in the world. Since I started university, so much has happened in the world of politics and media. Groups that are often silenced or ignored are beginning to speak out. There seems to be an increased culture of anger and unrest, and it's as if the powers that be have no time to talk to the population, face to face. Perhaps it's always been like this, and I've only just begun to notice, but I can't help feel that the tide may be changing.
People in the UK will be voting on the 7th of May and it will be the first time I have been able to vote. Though I fully intend to vote - knowing, as a woman, how important it is to exercise my right to democracy - I have heard many different opinions on this matter. Some argue that young people shouldn't vote, while others argue that we shouldn't waste this privilege. It seems that this election has caused a sort of uprising.
Recently, I've started watching The Trews, presented by Russell Brand. I haven't taken much notice of him until now. He claims to tell the truth about what the politicians do, how governments work and seems to expose an unknown world to us. Everything he says seemed to make sense, perhaps because of the simple(ish) language he uses. But then it occurred to me that Russell Brand is no different to the politicians who are begging for my vote. He is trying to sell me an ideology which, upon further inspection, seems unrealistic and far reached. His constant use of the word 'revolution' seems to suggest I am part of some kind of change, but am I? I still wake up in the morning feeling the same, I got to university where I pay an arm and a leg for a small bottle of water, and I still buy overpriced coffee and sit in the same library, staring at all the blank faces of people who are probably losing their minds too. He makes me feel like I'm out there, doing something, fighting the good fight - but I'm not.
I then started following Sweets Way Resists, a campaign trying to stop the social cleansing in the housing estates of Annington Homes and Barnet Council. I'd never felt so attached to a cause. Recently, they staged a protest by having a mass sleepover to stop the council from kicking them out of their home. I thought about going, supporting their campaign, joining these people and doing my part, but then I realised my deadlines, the job applications that needed finishing, my pile of laundry, and stayed home instead. To be honest, I've never felt so awful. I could have made a mark, been part of a change in the social order, but I couldn’t because I had lectures the next day and meetings to attend. People might say: 'well it was only one night. Why didn't you go? You were just being lazy'. That might have been why, but it just felt like such big deal to me. For some, being part of a protest isn't controversial, but when I thought about how my parents and my friends might have reacted if I had participated, I realised there was more to me not protesting than just 'laziness'. I'd never spoken out about politics. It would have been a huge thing for me to suddenly take part in a protest.
I recently ask my housemate, my best friend from home and my mum whether they thought we were in a ‘revolution’. My best friend said ‘yes, of course we are, just look at Ferguson!' I asked her why she wasn’t out there protesting. 'Why don’t you go out of your door and start the change?' She didn’t understand what I meant. Then I asked my housemate, though she wasn’t sure. She said that she had worked too hard and risked too much to get to university, she couldn’t be part of any revolution because 'it never really works'. Then I asked my mum, she said no. She said that she had seen this happen time and time again, 'just look at Thatcher,' she said, 'everyone thought there was going to be a change'.
Admittedly, even after all of this, I do believe there is going be change. People are fed up, and they are finally realising that the Top Dogs get scared if the little guys start to yell. But will I be part of this change? Will any of us be part of this change? After all this soul searching and questioning, where did I end up? Well, more confused than when I started, if I’m being honest. I don’t think there will ever be a time where I will be able to see things in clarity. But I aim to one-day stand up for the rights of others. One day, I do hope that I will get over that fear holding me back and put my voice with the