11/06/2012 09:05 am ET Updated Jan 06, 2013

To Vote, Or Not to Vote?

Lately, it's been hard to miss all the political advertisements, and quite frankly, if you've been oblivious to them, you've been living under a rock! Like some of you, I'm not quite old enough to vote yet -- I'm just about a month short.

I originally thought how disappointed I was that I wouldn't get to vote in this election and would have to wait four more years to voice my opinion. But as I got to thinking more and more about it, it's probably a good thing I'm not old enough to vote yet, because I haven't educated myself enough on the two candidates and the parties at large.

Perhaps, like some other Americans, I haven't taken as active of an interest in politics as I probably should. I suppose I could argue that because I'm not of age yet, I knew my opinion didn't matter. But just because I can't vote yet doesn't mean the outcome doesn't affect me.

From what I have seen and heard, politics can be a bit taboo to talk about but alongside sports and weather -- but it's definitely something people love to talk about. I recently overheard someone say, "We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate." At the time it was comical, but as I thought more and more about it, I realized that there will never be the perfect candidate. There will always be someone who isn't thrilled with the results and a segment of the population who doesn't feel they are being heard.

Which brings me to my point: It's easy to voice our complaints, but if we aren't doing anything to change what we are unhappy about, our opinions should be on deaf ears. I hear a whole list of items my parents dislike about this side or that side and I know that down the road, many of the things that have bothered them may bother me, too. But if I haven't taken the time to educate myself on both parties and realize what points are important to me personally, I have a hard time feeling as though I should be heard.

So, I challenge you to get out and vote if you are of age, and if you aren't, use this opportunity to learn how the system works and really dive into the parties to see which you would fall under and what issues are important or may be important to you in the future. We all have a voice and if your course of action isn't listening to both sides before making your opinion, you're better off sitting this one out.

One of my teachers at K12, where I'm a senior in high school (finally!) told me about iCivics, which is a site that has 16 scholastic video games where kids can campaign for an issue, manage a campaign or present real cases. You can also learn about the rights we all have as citizens and how countries work. It's pretty cool; you should check it out!