Brexit: How do students feel one week on?

A couple of weeks ago we asked students from across the UK how they were feeling about the upcoming EU Referendum.

Their answers ranged from angry to hopeful to pragmatic and, although we did strain for balance, it was clear that the majority of students we spoke to were firmly in the Remain camp.

A week on from a result that has seen many young people rallying against what they believe to be an assault on their future, we caught up with the same students to see how they’re faring.

Read our earlier piece, This is what 15 students have to say about the EU Referendum, here.

Daniel Lee, Goldsmiths, University of London

“We’re one week into New Britain and already, everyone knows someone who has been the victim of a xenophobic attack. A man in the pub last night felt comfortable enough with the state of the country to remove his shirt and present a swastika chest piece ‘American History X’ style to the garden.

“The thing is, they don’t even get annoyed when you shout ‘racist’ at them anymore. The way to fight this sort of behaviour is to just film them, and then chuck it on YouTube so they are shamed to a wider audience.

“Other than hoping that the referendum result is ignored and we don’t leave, there’s not much we can do but remain optimistic. We can consider the socialist point of view; as in, the EU did kind of destroy Greece, and that’s not something we need to be a part of.

“Or, we can be annoyed for a bit and point some fingers. Personally, I like to point mine in the general direction of 2010 because we all know none of this would’ve happened if David Miliband was elected Labour leader six years ago.”

Hollie Geraghty, University of Southampton

“One week on from the referendum result, I’m still a little bit in disbelief that we’re leaving the EU. I really thought there would be a Remain majority, even if it was close.

“I feel so disappointed that our country has decided to isolate itself. I also feel disappointed that people are less likely to view us as a place of opportunity, diversity, and equality.

“For me personally I’m also disheartened that my work and travel prospects within Europe may be limited in the future.

“Nevertheless, as frustrating as it is that Leave won the majority, I feel like I’m finally coming to terms with the result. However this referendum really has brought out the worst in some people. Some of the effects have been appalling, including multiple incidents of racism and abuse toward foreign people. This is exactly why I did not want Leave to win, besides the many disadvantages of leaving the EU, the xenophobic people within the Leave campaign would ignorantly believe that they had won. Moreover, many leave voters are wishing they could now vote differently, as the effects of leaving the EU are becoming a reality to them.

“All in all, the past week has been quite surreal, but I really hope we can still maintain a good relationship with the other members of the EU.”

Danny Wittenberg, University of Cambridge (from October)

“One week on from the tragedy of the result, the reality is sinking in. Britain finally has to face up to the facts: there is clearly no going back from Brexit, a hard-right government is looming and the prospect of privileges without obligations in any new European deal has been exposed as an illusion.

“The low turnout among young voters at the referendum is proof of the catastrophes that can occur when our generation refuses to engage. It now seems more obvious than ever that we have to influence our future, amplifying our voices during the EU negotiations and beyond, as well as advocating a strong opposition back home.

“Yet, if teenagers and students can overcome the initial grief, problems might just turn into opportunities as the weeks and months wane on. Let’s make that we, not the Leave campaign, take back control — both over our democracy and the policies that affect young people most.”

Izzy Simmons, University College London

“It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I am truly devastated and shocked by the results. In the week since, watching our economy become more and more precarious, our politicians floundering, the Leave campaigners admitting their lies, and the rise in racism, has been like watching something out of the opening of a dystopian novel. I thought the nastiness surrounding the campaigns was bad, but somehow it’s got worse.

“Though I would love to say that we can rise out of the divisions we now have in our country, I feel that back in the real world away from Winnie The Pooh memes, we’re going to struggle. However, my one hope, now that the disastrous economic effects are clear and a large portion of the country is at unrest, is that an undercurrent of parliament won’t actually vote to Leave.

“I understand the cries of “Democracy!” from the Leave side, but it was so close, without a full turnout, and many Leave voters (I’ve seen figures of up to a million) regret their vote now they know it was based on lies.”

Ben Robbins, University of Southampton

“I don’t think any of us, even the actual Leave supporters, were expecting the vote to swing the way it did, and whilst I’m not expecting Britain to instantly flash into a Mad Max-style wasteland overnight like a lot of fellow students, I’m definitely nervous about what it means for the future.

“ The UK film industry is apparently already taking quite a few knocks, which doesn’t bode well for my hopeful future career, and a lot of Europe seems to be taking the news (understandably) quite harshly.

“Even if we did a 180 and never actually left, the damage is already done. In the words of an upset parent: I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.”

Matt Mills, University of Winchester

“Almost a week after the fact, I feel like I’m stuck on a sailboat with a mast that’s fallen off. It seems that not even the politicians that backed the vote to leave the EU have any idea what on Earth they’re doing. Farage has revealed that he was a liar about the NHS, Dan Hannan has said Brexit will likely not affect immigration, Boris has stepped up to the plate of becoming Prime Minister only to step back down, Gove is now the most likely candidate to be PM, and a year ago he said he would never take the job even if he was offered it.

“Even though I was a Remain voter, I have never had any issue with anyone voting to leave (well, not if they could back up their argument without spewing racist remarks). My issue is with the lack of preparation from the government for a majority that wanted to leave. In my mind, David Cameron should never have made this referendum a possibility in the first place.”

Jon May, University of Roehampton

“All the experts said it would be a bad move and turns out they were right. 30-year-low on the pound, downgraded national credit rating, businesses shedding jobs to shore up for the financial winter that’s coming and it’s definitely not the end of the story yet. The older generation shafted us and we’re the ones that will have to pay for it when they’re gone.”

ChiChi Ogwe, University of Leeds

“A week after the results of the EU Referendum, I am still disappointed. Like many people my age, I voted to Remain because I believed (and I still believe) that the UK is better off in the EU.

“The Leave result means that a lot of things are set to change that could affect most young people’s lives, yet most of the people who voted to leave are those aged 60 or 70 or older, and that infuriates me.

“I’m not surprised that London and Scotland voted to remain. As a Londoner myself I recognise that London is a European city on a global scale, and it is full of diversity. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another Scottish Referendum as a result of last week’s referendum.

“The political events since — Cameron resigning and calls for Corbyn to resign — don’t surprise me at all. Boris Johnson choosing not to join in the Tory leadership race has surprised me, but as a non-supporter I’m glad he’s not in the running.

“All in all, I’m still disappointed by how things turned out.”

Thomas Randall, University of Southampton

“I didn’t expect there to be a Leave vote, so I woke up that morning with a similar feeling as after a night out where you distinctly remember doing something bad.

“However, I do feel vindicated by the aftermath and I still feel Leave will be the best in the long term. The shock to the markets seems to be recovering and it genuinely seems Brexit is acting as the catalyst for change in our country we so badly need

“Speaking as a northerner I would say the referendum has brought home to Labour how badly they have treated their core vote, and I hope it brings about a new way of doing things that empowers the regions.

“I am cautiously optimistic a more representative politics is coming through.”

Sofia Quaglia, City University, London

“After a week of following the developments post Brexit, I can say I’ve stopped worrying about myself that much, as I know us international students are going to find a way out of it one way or another… it will not be that big of a deal.

“On the other hand though, I’ve started really, really worrying for the UK. Everything is a mess! Literally, LEAVE did not have a plan whatsoever, voters were blatantly, blatantly lied to, there’s no PM, no shadow, Nigel Farage and his big mouth are representing you in the EU. Literally, how bad can it get?”

George Storr, University of Edinburgh

“I was undecided until the day before the referendum but voted Remain in the end. I study in at Edinburgh University and it’s the unintended consequence of another Scottish referendum that most frightens me in the wake of the result. If we’re opting out of close European unity I think we at least need British unity; of course Scotland and England have their differences, but we work well together too.

“I’m ultimately disappointed by the result but also disappointed by the hysteria, largely conveyed over social media by students, in the wake of the referendum. The decision is made now, panic isn’t constructive and will only make things worse.”

Originally published at



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