After Donald Trump’s election, we asked StudentNation writers to let us know how they felt about the unexpected result. We received a torrent of responses from both high-school and college students, most of whom had more to say that our allotted 200 words could allow. The forum reflects a wide array of emotional responses and calls to action. Taken together, it gives some sense of how engaged millennials are making sense of the election results.
Shona Kambarami, The New School ’17
A few minutes before midnight on election day, surrounded by a rainbow crowd of weeping Hillary Clinton supporters at the NBC Democracy Plaza, it became clear to me that I was watching the unthinkable happen, in real time. I left.
On my subway ride to rapidly diversifying Bed-Stuy, a deathly silence was interrupted by a woman who entered the car two stops in. “Do you have your papers?” she asked to nobody in particular. She repeated the question to a young African-American hipster, who nodded. “Good. Good. Because if you don’t, he’s going to be rounding us up.”
Half the train car was crying. Even the stoic among us were affected. I haven’t stopped. The despair comes in searing waves, when I least expect it: when my cousin posts “I’m raising a young black boy and I’m terrified,” or when I see an article on Twitter about women rushing to get IUDs inserted because they’re afraid of what comes next. When a Muslim woman is afraid to wear a hijab or when my friend—a fellow sexual-assault victim—could not comprehend how little our pain matters.
I don’t know what comes next.
Alia Marsha, University of Washington, ’16
My friends and I were still a little high from marijuana, drunk from red wine, and dizzy from too much candy, but when Trump came on TV to deliver his winning speech we could feel ourselves sobering up real quick. We knew these substances wouldn’t make us numb to this election, yet I surprised myself when I felt my heart sink. We were silent and tense with disappointment and fear. I didn’t vote, because I couldn’t. My student visa expires next September. I will be on the airplane back to Indonesia because it’s my plan—no need to kick me out. My plan to come back in a couple of years to attend graduate school became hazier. Should I maybe try applying in four years? Would this country let me back in? Trump and his supporters hate me for all of my identities: immigrant, person of color, queer, woman, Muslim. I looked at my American friends, all 20-something first-time voters, already feeling the distance between me and them. I may never set foot here again, I thought.
Omneya Hany A Shanab, Syracuse University ’18
This election broke me. It broke a lot of us. This election went against everything I thought the United States of America stood for. This country was meant to welcome people of all colors, religions, shapes, sizes, and minds. But here I am sitting at my computer confused as to how a man who stands against all of those things is going to be the most powerful man in the world for the next four years.