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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rhodes chapter.

Ever since I was in middle school, I have wanted to go to college out of state. This goal was not out of disdain for my home state of Mississippi, but out of my longing to see what lies beyond the place I’ve called home for almost nineteen years. Even though I didn’t go far, I still reached my goal and all of the things that it comes with; absentee ballots, stereotypes, a lack of cotton fields, and an absence of Eudora Welty as a household name. When I chose to go to college out of state, along with questions about my roommate and my major, another big question I was asked was whether or not I was going to register to vote in Tennessee, or keep my vote in Mississippi.             A photo taken at Red Bluff, a small canyon in Southern Mississippi, taken by Rebecca Fish

The realization that this was something I could do was surprising, to say the least.

I come from a very progressive, liberal family. I have always been taught to treat everyone with the same love you and graciousness that you would want, and to respect the dignity of every human being. That being said, it is clear that my opinions to do not always match up with the opinions of my state. The thought that I could now vote in an entirely new state, where there were new politicians to fight for and new issues to educate myself on and learn about, opened up a new world of possibilities. The thought of registering to vote somewhere new always stayed on the back of my mind, but I never knew whether to act on it or not.

However, it was not until the Kavanaugh hearing that I decided once and for all, I certainly had to keep my vote in Mississippi.

When Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker released a statement claiming that the conviction was a “campaign designed to smear Judge Kavanaugh”, I was embarrassed to call myself a Mississippian. However, when Senator Cyndi Hyde-Smith stood up on the Senate Floor and delivered a speech saying it is her “duty as a woman in Congress” to defend him, I did not feel embarrassed anymore. Instead, I felt empowered and determined.                                                            Jackson, Mississippi Women’s March 2017

As much as these words sickened me and made me want to give up on the country as a whole, it made me determined to change something about the state that these politicians so wrongly represent. Hearing these words made me realize just how much power I have as a voting citizen. I am determined to keep my vote in Mississippi in order to have the opportunity to vote someone into office that sheds new light on this state. Instead of losing hope when hearing these words, a flame was reignited inside me,  and I realized the place that I have called home for so long can be turned around, and every voice, as small as it may be, has the power to do so.

Although I cannot remember a time where I have not called Mississippi my home, there are still mysteries about the state that I have yet to unlock. One of the biggest mysteries to me is how a place of so much beauty can be riddled with such bigotry. I wonder how a place that I have grown up loving can be contaminated with such a soiled past. Although we cannot change the past, we can certainly change the future.                                                                      Canton, Mississippi 2018​                                                                                                            

On November 6th, United States citizens have the opportunity to grab the country by its shoulders and turn it around. When midterms roll around, I will be casting my vote and mailing my absentee ballot into the Magnolia State. If this election season has taught me anything, it’s the harsh realities about the politics of my hometown. If you get nothing else out of this, I hope you at least realize the power that you and your vote hold, whether that is in your own hometown, Memphis, or the country as a whole. Everyone deserves a voice. Don’t let it go to waste.

Katie Seage

Rhodes '22

just doing my best