Eighteen is the age when politically-minded students can have an input on the issues that concern everyday life.
Many first time voters have clear opinions about world issues.
Greenwood High School students who will turn 18 before Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 8) seem excited to register to vote in their first presidential election.
Juniors Shane Powell and Bee Rainey and senior Jonna Hiler said they feel politically-opinionated and are responsible enough to have an influence on who will lead America for the next four years.
It seems everyone has an opinion about the candidates running for president, whether it’s young people’s overwhelming support for Sanders, the critic’s harsh intolerance of Trump or those who are interested in Clinton’s scandals.
Students have specific issues of which their importance must be shared with the candidate receiving their vote.
Several major controversial topics students feel are important include: gun control, foreign policy and religious values.
While all three stand firm on pro-choice issues, Rainey was especially passionate.
"Abortion, owning a gun, same-sex marriage and religion should all be someone’s choice," Rainey said. "America was founded on the basis of freedom, and regardless of who leads the country, you can’t take away someone’s freedom of choice."
Freedom of choice issues have become quite a source of pride for some young people and, perhaps, are the reason many of them support Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
"I stand with Bernie because of his values and, honestly, compared to Clinton, he is the lesser of two evils," Hiler said.
Like Hiler, Powell and Rainey said they hold Democratic values and plan to vote for Sanders on Election Day if he is the Democratic nominee.
Every four years Americans inundated with political propaganda in the form of commercials, magazines and increasingly-popular social media sites.
"Most of the information I know about Bernie Sanders has come from social media pages," Powell said.
Some politicians have gained or lost a significant amount of voters’ attention based on their social media photos and posts. "I guess I jumped on the bandwagon of popular issues – hating Trump and praising Sanders," Rainey said.
Students’ main reason for turning to the "bandwagon" is a lack of political information.
Many first time voters, including Hiler, Rainey, and Powell, admit that politics is rarely discussed at their homes and no one has ever explained the voting process.
Without knowing all the information about the candidates, students say they’re voting to make a difference.
"I want to give my input to make a difference," Powell said, "but I don’t fully know which candidate will make my input count for something yet."
One helpful way students have learned about candidates is through the increasingly popular ISideWith.com quiz.
The quiz offers many important questions concerning social, environmental, economic, domestic policy, healthcare, foreign policy, educational and many more issues.
After submitting an answer, the quiz taker is then asked to rate the question as being least, less, somewhat, more or most important to them.
After completing the questions, the quiz taker is given his or her results in the form of percentages to show who their concerns best "side with."
Hiler and Rainey have both participated in the quiz and fell within their preferred party but not necessarily their preferred candidate.
Hiler was set on Sanders prior to taking the quiz and received a 97 percent match. Rainey, on the other hand, expected Sanders but received a surprising 93 percent match with Clinton.
"I was very surprised," Rainey said. "I realize I match best with Clinton, but my vote is still with Sanders."
Even though many students see voting as "choosing the lesser of two evils," they realize its importance.
"I’m not voting solely because I’m eligible or want to say I did," Rainey said. "Anyone 18 or older can vote, but it’s a privilege and a civic duty. I will vote to make a difference and not to make a statement."