By Elizabeth White
(WROXTON, ENGLAND) – One of the first things that came to mind when I chose to study abroad this semester way back in March was the Presidential Election in November. This was the first presidential election that I would be eligible to vote in, which was a very big deal to me. I’ve always been interested in politics. As nerdy as it sounds, for years I wondered what the first election I voted in was going to be like.
Before I left home in August, I mailed in my request for an email ballot to make sure that I could still participate in my civic duty even though I would be overseas. Although it was a hassle to complete an absentee ballot, I am proud to say that I voted in my first presidential election.
I proudly supported Hillary Clinton. I’ve always been liberal, and I believed that she could make positive changes and reunite our country. I’ve always vehemently opposed Trump, and I did all that I could to make sure he didn’t become president. That was part of the reason voting in this election was so important to me: a Trump presidency would be a disaster.
The friends I made at Wroxton, like me, loved to talk about and be involved in the current political news of the United States and the world. For weeks we talked about the election, what the outcome would be, and what it would be like watching it from across the Atlantic.
As Nov. 8 drew closer, I began to get nervous about the outcome. The staff at Wroxton announced that they would be throwing an election party for us that night with snacks and soda included. I looked forward to watching the results roll in with my American peers.
On Nov. 8, I woke up surprisingly optimistic. I had just gotten over being sick (again) and I felt strangely calm despite it being the long-awaited election day.
They held a mock election on election day to see how the “Wroxton constituency” felt about the candidates.
When the results came back from the mock election around dinner time, I was shocked by how my peers had voted.
Only 71 percent of the students at Wroxton voted. The Democratic party “won” with 44 percent of the votes (16 votes) while the Republican party garnered 39 percent of the votes (14 votes).
I was surprised by the close margin that Hillary Clinton won, and I wondered about the people I was attending Wroxton with.
Little did I know what was going to happen later that night.
The first results of the election did not come in until around midnight GMT.
I’ll never forget waiting impatiently for the newscasters to call the first states. When they announced that several key Eastern states were too close to call, I got a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.
The rest of the night went downhill from there. My liberal friends and I nervously paced the basement, eating pizza and anxiously waiting for more states to be called red or blue.
No one was anticipating how long it would actually take for the the question we had all been waiting for to be answered. We stayed late into the night watching the news as the minutes and hours ticked by.
By about 3 a.m. it wasn’t looking good for Clinton at all. I had about given up hope, but I wanted to be awake for the final results. I wanted to be able to say that I had stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to see the first female president of the United States win the election.
I was thoroughly disappointed.
At around 5 a.m. I gave up. I had a 9 a.m. history class that I decided I needed to be conscious in.
I still clung on to a tiny bit of hope that Clinton could come back, but I knew in my heart that it was over. I think I left the basement around the time when Michigan was determined to go to Donald Trump.
The mood in the abbey the next day was definitely dreary and dead. My peers were just as shocked and upset as I was.
It has taken me a little time, but I am recovering from the devastating outcome. I am willing to see what President Trump has to offer, and do all that I can to help piece our country back together.
I’ll never forget the first presidential election that I voted in for many reasons; least of all the weird sensation of watching history unfold in America from across the pond.