A wise man once told me that there is a difference between motivation and determination. Motivation is temporary – it is created from a spark of inspiration, but once that spark dies, the original motivation will also fade. Determination, on the other hand, is the strength to pursue the goal of that initial spark and see it through to the desired goal, despite opposition.
Four years ago, I was a senior at Central High School and an eager 18-year-old ready to head into her first election: the crucial 2018 midterm election. My seventh-grade social studies teacher period constantly reminded my class of the importance of not only registering to vote, but also voting in an informed manner in every election. I remember thinking he was almost preaching to the choir – of course people my age were motivated to go and vote in these elections. We have witnessed the crucial role Pennsylvania played in electing Donald Trump as President and we have lived through the consequences of having him as Commander-in-Chief. At the time, I understood there would be about four more elections until I could finally vote for Trump to be removed from office, but that was my motivation to vote. Honestly, that was a selling point for a lot of people.
The sheer fear of having someone remotely associated with Trump’s ideals or antics was enough to motivate people to register to vote in record numbers. It was also a selling point for many politicians at the time, serving as the catalyst for the “blue wave” of the 2018 midterm elections, followed in 2020 by the highest voter turnout among Philadelphians. over the past 25 years.
In 2020, I was still motivated to get Trump out of office, but the pandemic really challenged my perspective.
The pandemic has put the day-to-day operations of my student life on hold and forced me to really analyze the state of my relationships, my health, my money, and my country.