June 23rd was not any ordinary morning. The night before London received massive amounts of rain, shutting down train lines and causing severe delays, making the morning commute a disaster all over the city. Queues circled around the tube stations, angry Londoner, after angry Londoner just trying to make it to work on time. Except this morning it wasn’t just work they were racing to; many were going to the nearest polling station, to vote in the biggest referendum in modern history: to stay or leave the European Union.
Work was tense that morning. Everyone in my office was distressed by their long commutes turned into several hour debacles, but the underlying feeling was curiosity as my work team pondered who would win the referendum. Everyone seemed relatively confident that the UK would remain, and that’s what the majority of the office openly supported. I think this is why I was so confused when I woke up on the 24th, and everything was different.
I looked at the results about an hour after they were posted, and my jaw went slack, my eyes wide. They had actually done it. They had decided to leave the EU.
I went to class that morning, and the tube was a little more quiet than usual. Heads were downturned, headphones in, sadness permeating the air. London predominantly voted to remain and you could tell. The palpable sense of grief was everywhere. My professor is an EU national so she was very upset when we met up for the afternoon, because her fate was unknown, and still is.
I feel that many students forget to look at the bigger picture when it comes to the referendum. We have a tendency of getting stuck in our own little world and this is what many people had done. They looked at London as this huge remain area, and thought others would think the same. But they forgot about the votes of the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some students do not realize that yes, the Brexit affects us while we’re here, but it will also affect us when we’re home. The worldwide economy is affected by all of the UK and the EU’s decisions. Yes, you are getting a better exchange rate in the UK now, but should that really make you so happy when the stocks in America plummeted?
The reactions to the Brexit are less severe than I expected. Many of my colleagues are upset, yet resigned. I expected there to be more protests than there were. Many Brits that I have come across have said they are just over it and want to get on with things, which is understandable after how much talk preceded the referendum.
It’s fascinating to see how things are unfolding here. Being in a new city is exciting, but this is unlike anything I had ever imaged experiencing. I am here in the midst of history. These next few months are going to determine the future of the UK and I was here for the unraveling of it.
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<p>My name is Ivy Bridges and I'm a junior at Indiana University. I study journalism and marketing with a specialization in public relations. I'm a self-proclaimed foodie, adventurer, and avid reader. Follow in my footsteps, as I search for the best coffee shop in London.</p>