My Four Years at Penn Will Be the Four Years of a Trump Presidency

By Michelle Shen (University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate)

I was filled with shock—it was like watching wave gathering upon wave turning into a massive swell that hit me and dragged me underneath. I panicked, tried to stay afloat, kicked and screamed and protested. 

That was what election night and the confirmation of a Trump presidency felt like. I remember going from college house to college house, visiting different friends, checking in with the polls. I heard conversations everywhere, drifting through the halls and lounges...I’m moving to Canada. I swear I can’t take this bullshit anymore...What international students can I marry? I’m going to need a Greencard...Why couldn’t Michelle Obama run? I wouldn’t really mind eating whole wheat chicken for four years...Those weren’t even close to the worst. I heard...I won’t get to marry the person I love anymore...Can I still afford healthcare?...My parents could get deported ...What if I get pregnant? Will I have no options?

I honestly felt so hopeless. The saddest part was that this whole mess wasn’t some military coup or some unwanted foreign invader. It was us. We voted for this man. We elected him. And that was scary.

My hardest midterm was the next day, but I couldn’t even focus and really didn’t see the point of trying. After all, I might not even be able to get a job after four years. I know I’m being very melodramatic, but I guess it’s the disappointment about the American political process. I remember being so excited to vote in my first election—I registered as soon as possible, watched every debate, and researched every candidate...but at this point, I just feel exhausted. 

Now I feel like I’m lying beneath the sea, calm and drifting, head and hair swirling, salt water filling my lungs. It’s a kind of acceptance that you take in, it’s the kind of complacency you reach when you know there’s nothing else you can do to change things. My four years at Penn will be the four years of a Trump presidency. 

In the grander scheme, I know one thing for sure: America is hurting. She is bruised, bleeding, and beaten. And I really hope we can all work together and help her heal.