Lead Attorney, Elif Painiak, poses with a welcoming smile after judging a round of Trial Court at the YMCA Austin District Conference.

By Sophia Portillo, Dripping Springs Delegation

A world of insecurity. Water and land became bridged, colonized, and transformed not by physicality, but by government. However, its development became inhibited by the rational fate of two options: serve as a weapon or a shield. From the bloody hands of military dictators to democratic leaders that struggle to adhere to all, there seldom appears a way to generate a balanced world. Now, the youth must work to solve this issue: fixing the injustices that arose before them. Though strictly starting by making a difference in her community, one student inches closer to evoking the change necessary to guide the world: becoming the shield.

“The youth today is faced with the problem of approachability,” lead attorney Elif Painaik said. “There is so much corruption present and just by being born into a lower-class family, you are automatically prone to seeing less success. We need to break the misconception of power as a result of economic status.”

Allowing her interest in government to grow, especially without the presence of family relations within the field, Painaik has proved the only way to truly end a misconception: break it yourself. Only when the misconception becomes challenged can one commence the rectification of their community.

“I don’t think changing a community stems from what you do now, but develops from how the impact you make takes shape later,” Painaik said. “Even if people don’t remember you, they will remember your efforts to make positive change, and that remains most important.”

Surrounded by a world where media births opportunities for all to create lasting influence, the young woman became eager to educate herself on the reins of the political spectrum. Witnessing fellow policymakers give accounts of their experiences, marked the start of her journey.

“My involvement with government first began with the 2016 election. It sparked my interest as I began to realize just how much power politicians have to help the lives of others,” Painaik said.

Since then, Painaik has done nothing but work towards allowing herself to become the next influential leader of her community, but only with one principle has she come close to achieving this goal.

“Hard work, more specifically, hard work towards doing what is right, has been the basis that I live by,” Painaik said. “Working towards something that is based on selfish desire does not determine hard work, but the impact that you spread among others does.”

The hard work that the lead attorney has accomplished has only resulted from the establishment of how she distinguishes what government means to her.

“Government is problem-solving. The failures of former generations, such as the destruction of our planet through oil extraction and lack of scientific knowledge, have made my generation responsible to find a cure,” Painaik said.

With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Painiak manifests the weaknesses around her into her strengths. With years ahead of her, the next biggest challenge obstructing her path stems from repurposing what she perceives a moral world to look like.

“Though there is much necessary work to be done, I believe the one thing the world needs to change is selfishness. If everyone worked primarily in the favor of other people, rather than for wealth or happiness, we would live in a righteous world,” Painaik said.