From Donald Trump being elected as president to President Barack Obama’s farewell speech, emotions have been scattered across a plane of sadness, joy and frustration. With the inauguration right around the corner, college students took the time to express their feelings about this new era that they will step into upon graduation. All of the students interviewed requested anonymity. A senior from Barnard College stated, “I’m just scared. I am just honestly terrified. I don’t know what to expect from our country anymore. It’s like that meme. On the 20th, mom is really leaving us with her creepy ex-boyfriend and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The Barnard student expressed her concern about her family. Being a first-generation citizen, she looks forward to making those around her proud. With the new policies on immigration coming about, this Barnard student from Honduras is unsure of whether that dream will be shared with her family in the long run.
A junior at Temple University also expressed his frustration, not with our president-elect, but with our president.
“My hood has looked the same way since Reagan, the same way since Bush and the same during Obama and that wasn’t supposed to happen,” he said. “All this time, the only struggling class that existed to him was the middle class, but on his last leg out he mentions the poor like that does us any good … It’s too late. What am I supposed to do with that now?”
This junior majoring in communication at Temple hopes to work for a grassroots organization one day so that he can give back to the community that raised him.
When one student from the University of Rochester was asked why she and the other students chose to be anonymous, she laughed as though I were asking an obvious question.
“We live in a new world and you can ask anyone and they’d believe what I’m saying,” she said. “To speak out against basic human indecency can get you fired, can hinder you from a job. What we’re saying and our fears are not valid anymore because we elected someone in that represents everything we dread. We’re not stupid. We know what is at risk now and we can’t afford be ‘out here’ like we used to or how we want to be. We’re not trying to lose the little
opportunity that we have left.”
The emotions were mixed but the sentiment was the same. This new era that awaits them means change, but not the same change Obama spoke about in 2008. This change requires readjustment around peers and colleagues.
A business major from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester spoke about these feelings of change.
“After the election, I’d walk into my classroom filled with nothing but white faces and a legit anxiety would fill my stomach because half of you voted him in,” he said. “Half of you said, ‘Screw everyone else that isn’t white upper middle class and let’s vote him in.’ Honestly, Obama did not leave us much to work with. I felt uncomfortable before, but now it’s just different. In this new era, I feel threatened, and this was there before with everything going on but it’s definitely elevated.”
African-American college students across the nation will graduate into the Trump era, and some have feelings that reflect this frustration and anxiety.
After being shown the comments of the other college students, the Barnard student stated, “It’s nice to know that I’m not crazy, that there are other young men and women that feel like the world is ending, but that’s not stopping them. I’m not the only one that wants to keep trying in this world and that is comforting.”