So I'm finally here in Virginia, working in the very beautiful Shenandoah Valley. I've spent the past few weeks getting trained and acclimated to the new community and am very thankful to be at such a wonderful daily in such a great area. But I didn't have much time to get comfortable, because election day started about two weeks after my first day and I had to be ready — and fast. Since this is only the second presidential election I've ever voted in, it shouldn't be a surprise that it's the first one I've ever worked. I knew it was going to be a long day, but I don't think I was prepared for how emotionally tired I'd be at the end of it all. After working a 14-hour shift and having everyone's political opinion thrust at me, I was happy to get back home to my new apartment and pass out.
Because Virginia has been such a hot swing state this year, we had a very exciting election to work on, but that also meant a lot of tension from the public and from our readers as they voiced their opinions. I visited 10 polling places on election day to gather pictures of the rural and city populations voting.
It was quite the roller coaster of a day, as it started listening to the disapproval of those who wanted to tell me how they didn't appreciate our newspaper's endorsement. But as the day wore on, I met a lot of amazing volunteers at the polling places who were just enjoying the day, having small talk with their neighbors and happily placing "I voted" stickers on citizens. It ended up being a great way to get to know the community.
Election day has come and gone, and it was quite the training day for my new job and my first election. I'm glad it's over but learned a lot. I can't say I'm anxious or excited for it again in four more years, but maybe I'll at least be more prepared.