What a night!  The long-anticipated Election Day has come and gone, and the campus is left buzzing (along with the rest of the nation) through our Facebook status updates and Tweets, offering each Bruin’s own two cents on the race for the presidency.  Landfair Avenue, typically frequented by residents whose apartments line the hilly street, saw more traffic than usual today as students from all over the area visited the polling station closest to our home campus to make our voices heard.

The campus climate was positive and helpful.  Student organizations with political affiliations reminded others to vote and to make use of our voice.  A viewing party with three live feeds from CNN, FOX and MSNBC was held in our Los Angeles Tennis Center, inviting all students and staff to stop by anytime between 7 and 10pm to watch the unveiling of the fateful numbers.

For some, it was the first time we had cast a ballot that would be meaningfully read, counted and tallied; for me, it was the first time I was in a country when it held its elections.  Having watched the elections relevant to me on live television up to this point in my life and never having been physically present in the country in question, tonight was an incredible experience.  As an American citizen that has never lived in this country before until college, I had much to catch up on, and I spent this elections season making sure I researched the propositions, kept up with the presidential debates, and listened to the opinions of those around me.  Then, I formed an opinion that was mine and headed over to 500 Landfair Avenue to hand in my mail-in ballot that I had ordered weeks ago.

Filling in the circles on the ballot felt surreal for a number of reasons.  First, this was the first time I had participated in a democratic election, ever.  Second, it was the first time I was old enough to understand politics, the merits and consequences of certain policies by certain politicians, AND could do something about it, right away.  So I took advantage of it, and I voted.

At the end of the day, it’s not my “I Voted” sticker from which I derive this feeling of fulfillment; it is knowing that I had made important decisions based on my values and beliefs, and that at such a crucial turning point in American history, I took part in it, even if it was in the slightest way.

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