A Day in the Life of a College Student: Tuesday, November 3rd

This Election Day, things looked a little different in Boston.

Stores were boarded up downtown. Helicopters scoured the sky. Streets were barren of people, who opted instead to hunker down indoors for a long day. There was panic in the air, with threats of a new “civil war” looming overhead.

College students in particular recognize the significance of this election. Midterm season is well underway, but assignments and exams were the last thought on our minds entering this stressful period.

This was Tuesday, November 3, 2020, at Boston University.

Photo by Elisabeth Lindsay on Unsplash

5 A.M.

For a typical college student, a 5 a.m. wake-up call would seem absurd. But that’s just what Libby Egan has to study for her virtual economics exam at 8 a.m. Her phone remains on Do Not Disturb, and turned upside down.

No distractions.

Egan, a sophomore at BU, is a film and television major from Seattle, Washington. As a female student voter, she's hopeful that her generation’s voice will be heard in the election.

“I’m optimistic that Biden will win, or that tonight will show that he'll most likely win,” she says.

9:48 A.M.

Egan sits slouched at a table in the George Sherman Union, confined in a 6-by-6 personal bubble. She wears a white T-shirt under jean overalls, her black hair tossed up in a messy bun. Her eyes glaze over as she half listens to her Zoom class.

Egan pulls her phone out and checks her email and social media accounts for the first time today. Her finger swipes up on her screen as she scrolls through her emails, pausing when she sees one from BU Today. She taps on the link to learn more.

The article features a BU law professor predicting what will happen if President Donald Trump denies the results of the election. Egan sighs, furrows her brows and squints her eyes to read the rest.

She swipes up out of the email and switches to her Instagram account, grabbing her coffee and gnawing on the straw. She sees a picture of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on The New York Times’ account and reposts it on her story, adding an “I Voted” sticker.

She readjusts her headphones and turns her focus back to her computer.

I Voted image Photo by visuals from Unsplash

12:17 P.M.

Egan walks into the College of Communication for her next class, seeing student journalists interviewing random students in the hallway and preparing for election coverage in the studios.

The sound of her Converse squeaking reverberates through the hallway.

“It’s really encouraging to see students involved and passionate,” she says. “I wish there was more I could do to help.”

She presses the up button for the elevator.

“I actually sent a five-page letter to some of my religious extended family last week,” she says. “A lot of my relatives are very privileged, so they can be disillusioned to the problems that other people face. It’s an education and empathy failure.”

3:45 P.M.

Egan exits one of BU’s COVID-19 testing facilities into the sharp wind, scrunching up her mask and sniffling her nose to readjust her probed sinuses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was definitely a tipping point in this election,” she says. “It opened up people’s eyes, but honestly, their eyes should have been open before the pandemic.”

Tiffany Tertipes / Unsplash

6:56 P.M.

TikTok is often a stress-reliever for Egan, especially during the election. She sprawls out on her apartment couch, her feet in the air and her chin perched on a pillow. She scrolls through TikTok and lands on a video of Newbury Street, where stores are boarded up in anticipation of riots and protests on election night.

“Everyone is preparing for a civil war,” she says. “I went grocery shopping yesterday to stock up for the week just in case we can’t leave our apartments.”

She replays the video.

“During the Black Lives Matter protests, my mom’s store was looted and attacked,” she says. “Seattle looked like a wasteland. There was so much destruction.”

She continues to scroll.

10:04 P.M.

Egan heats up a bowl of ramen, her second of the night. Her eyes are peeled on the TV streaming NBC’s live election results. The microwave beeps, and she grabs her ramen and plops back down on the couch. Trump leads in Florida.

“I can’t keep feeling anxious,” she says. “I can’t carry this anxious feeling for days.”

Lester Holt’s voice fills the room, announcing that it’s still too early to call in many states.

“I have to remain optimistic,” Egan says. “God knows Gen Z is not ready for a civil war.”

Egan hoists herself back off the couch to grab a kombucha from the fridge, her second of the night.

And even though she's in for days of speculation and stress, Egan remains optimistic.