The Presidential Election has captured the attention of the world, including Valpo students. Throughout the week of Nov. 3 students have felt a range of emotions regarding the election as votes continued to be counted.
Senior Anna Bedalov has felt emotions ranging from stress to fear due to the election.
“Well I look around at like the people I live with, the people that I care about in my life, and I know that there's risk of some of their rights being taken away or infringed upon,” Bedalov said. “Looking at the Black Lives Matter Movement over the summer, or even people who are LGBTQ, there are a lot of policies that have the potential to be put in place, or statements that have been made by one party and not the other that are potentially dangerous to those groups of people and even more minority groups.”
According to Senior Gina Bernico, she has also experienced additional stress due to the election.
“It's very nerve wracking to watch it go on this long just because in all of my experience of watching elections, regardless of who the candidates were, I feel like I knew within the day of. It's very weird...so many things could happen,” Bernico said. “The fact that this is still dragging out is very, very confusing and also just it makes me nervous and not only for me but for those other smaller populations that might not have as much of a voice.”
Bedalov says that the election is challenging due to the differences between each candidate's platform.
“It's been weird to see how close the results are considering the total differences in platforms. And I know that technically speaking a lot of people think that neither candidate is really ideal but I like the metaphor of, a president is like a bus that you're taking to an end goal. So they might not be necessarily perfect or completely aligned with your thoughts but it's like taking a path to the right direction,” Bedalov said. “In my mind one of them is the really clear right path so it's a little shocking and scary to see so many people not agreeing with that.”
Bernico also commented on the differences between the two candidates.
“All of the talk of what Trump wants to do in these next four year versus what Biden wants to do in these next four years, it feels very polar opposite,” Bernico said.
The election had even impacted students’ sleep schedules.
“So I’m from Wisconsin so I ended up accidentally staying up until the results for Milwaukee city came in on Tuesday night and it might've been one of the most stressful moments of my life I would say,” Bedalov said.
Senior Matt Vargo had also found it difficult to sleep the night of the election, saying that he did not fall asleep the night of Election Day.
According to Vargo, the uncertainty surrounding the election as votes continue to be counted contributes to the mixed feelings of students.
“I just feel like this whole dark cloud is just kind of hanging out over us and we all want the skies to clear. We know who is President whether Trump gets reelected or Biden gets elected to a term...we just want the answers as quickly as possible...we just want to know,” Vargo said.
Bedalov also expressed her concern about not knowing results three days after Election day.
“Not knowing what news is accurate or like when things are going to be happening or whose numbers are actually up to date has been like- I think the uncertainty is part of the really scary part too,” Bedalov said.
According to Sophomore Lillian Gramza, the candidates reaction to the wait is important to note.
“This election is incredibly unpredictable and anxiety-inducing,” Gramza said. “At the same time, it says a lot about the character of the candidates.”
For many students, this election was the first presidential election they were eligible to vote in.
“This is my first election that I've been able to vote in...this is a huge one, it's interesting that this is the first one, going to be a memorable one for sure,” Senior Kristin Miller said. “I've been checking things constantly. I've been going to multiple different sources, looking at the numbers doing the math myself...so it's interesting to see where it's going and also just how long it's taking for things to come through.”
Miller also finds the possibility of what can happen after the election as a stressor.
“I've been stressed with some people's reactions to it and what could potentially happen. I know there were a lot of cities boarded up...it's stress inducing to see the way that people could react...and that some people may not be willing to peacefully accept what it is,” Miller said.
The stress from the election comes at a time when Valpo students are already facing a difficult time between finals and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Especially with it falling like two weeks before finals there are a lot of projects going on so the stress of not knowing where the country is going while also having so much work to do I think it just made a really bad situation for a lot of people on campus,” Bedalov said.
Despite the stress and challenges the election has provided to Valpo students, Vargo believes the voter turnout to be a positive factor.
“I’m just really glad that so many people voted honestly...I think that’s really good for our democracy,” Vargo said.