Many students at home will have unexpected company on election night this year: their parents. For students whose political views clash with their family’s views, tensions can be high as the countdown to November 3 continues.
Election night is traditionally a community event at Simmons, from dorm-room watch parties to campus-wide debriefs. COVID-19 has made this difficult, as it is unsafe to hold large gatherings per CDC guidelines. The loss is most palpable for many students who are isolated at home by their political views.
“That tension lives in my house in a physical way.” said Simmons sophomore and political science major, Anna McGuiness.
McGuiness, who identifies as a leftist, explained that she and her father have extremely different political views. She described conversations between the two as polite at best.
For McGuiness, being at home is uncomfortable, the tension damaging. “There are no words for how much it affects a person to not be able to share their emotions with their parents.”
McGuiness says the sense of community on campus is what she misses the most while living at home..
“Elections are about community,” said McGuiness. “At Simmons, there would be a structure to the coping. Here, I’m grappling in the dark to find something to hold onto.”
For other Simmons students, the lack of community discourse is the greatest stressor.
“I miss the conversations both in and out of classes which allowed me to educate and to be educated.” said Lizzy Colotta, a junior and history major at Simmons.
The lack of community support is discouraging for McGuiness and Colotta. Both agree a remote semester has put a strain on connection, which can be harder to find at home.
Aaron Rosenthal, assistant professor of political science and international relations at Simmons, agrees that the situation is stressful and is urging students to stay connected and to get involved.
“If you’re in a situation where you feel like conflict is everywhere, finding those places of comradery and affinity are just so important,” said Rosenthal.
The Political Science Department plans to host an election night debrief after results are announced. All students are welcome to attend.