Image by Gage Skidmore from Wikimedia Commons
On the night of November 8th, the nation watched as the 45th President of the United States was chosen. Adults, children, students, and families gathered to witness an outcome that defied polls and shocked onlookers. To some, the result was a cause for celebration. To others, a cause for mourning.
The country remains divided, now more than ever, between relieved pro-Trump Americans and fearful anti-Trump Americans. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline calls surged to an unprecedented degree until the morning after the election.
A shadow has fallen over the United States, and while many remain hopeful, disillusioned students, including those at Queens, are still coping with the implications of Donald Trump as president.
Trump has been a controversial candidate since his campaign’s start. His position as a political “outsider” attracted voters while his contentious stances and scandals horrified others. His dwindling fan base towards the end of the campaign even foretold a Clinton presidency.
Christian Braswell, a junior from Charlotte, says he was surprised with the outcome, despite voting for Trump. Now that Trump has won, he feels secure in his future.
“Fine,” was the answer Braswell gave when asked how he felt knowing Trump would be his president as he graduated college and entered the workforce. “He’s a billionaire. I think he knows what he’s doing. Plus, it’s not like the economy could get any worse.”
“If anything, I have more optimism for the future now,” said Braswell.
But for those who were hoping – or depending – on a Clinton presidency, the results have been devastating.
“It’s nearly impossible not to wake up stressed anymore,” said Karely Avila, a freshman from Atlanta. “As a DACA student, I fear for what he has planned for myself, other DACA students, and my family.” DACA, short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an immigration policy that makes it easier for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children to receive work permits.
The economy, and living with student debt, is generally a top concern for college students facing a new president. But with Trump, other problems have arisen.
Isabel Perez, a junior from Pennsylvania, says she is more worried about human rights issues than anything else. She remains anxious to see how he will address the controversies surrounding him and the election.
“If he goes through with a lot of his bigoted policies, that will change the atmosphere of a college campus deeply,” said Amanda Sanders, a freshman from Atlanta. “A lot of people will be immediately disenfranchised.”
Emotions are still running high for some, but Queens students remain optimistic about their future.
“I’m still a little worried,” said Amanda Sanders. “But my plans for the future have not changed at all. I’m not disillusioned to politics. I’m still going to get my education regardless of what people say I can or cannot do.”
“It’s scary,” says Avila. “But I’m trying to remain hopeful. I’m going to keep studying hard and pursuing my dreams. Nothing is going to stop me from giving my all and getting my degree.”
“My plans [for the future] have not changed,” said Deneiro Sanders, a junior from Michigan and the president of the College Democrats. “And neither should anyone else’s. We must realize that Donald Trump is not the narrator. He doesn’t write your story; you do.”
So while no one is sure what’s to come for the next four years, Queens students aren’t letting anyone stand in the way of their dreams – not even the President of the United States.