I’m a sophomore at Vassar College.

For those of you who have either never heard of Vassar or don’t know much about the school, it is identified by several distinctive features.

First and foremost, I have to start off by saying that Vassar is located in Poughkeepsie, New York, a small city on the scenic Hudson River.

Second, there are several overarching tenets that are promoted by and widely respected at the school; the most notable are diversity, open-mindedness, and tolerance exhibited toward all students, regardless of personal background.

Thirdl and most importantly in the context of this particular column, Vassar represents an intellectual hotbed of liberalism and beacon of progressive thought, with the majority of the faculty and student body situated somewhere on the left of the political spectrum. A well-articulated defense of social or fiscal conservatism isn’t commonplace, despite the school’s promotion of diverse ideologies.

You won’t find too many posters endorsing Mitt Romney in Rockefeller Hall, home to the Political Science department. There aren’t a whole lot of Romney-Ryan 2012 or McCain-Palin 2008 bumper stickers on display at South Lot, the school’s designated student parking lot. Flipping through The Miscellany News, Vassar’s student-run weekly newspaper, you are more likely to find some kind of subtle backing for Marxist communism than a positive review of George W. Bush’s decisions as commander-in-chief.

By all means, students who find themselves anywhere right of center make up a tiny minority. So, as I walk along a secluded stone path from one side of Vassar’s heavily wooded campus to the other (a trek that takes longer than expected, considering the school’s seemingly diminutive size), I know that there aren’t a lot of students like me in the surrounding area.

I’m voting for Mitt Romney on November 6th.

After battling chronic indecisiveness and constant questioning, Romney-esque flip-flopping, and excessive on-the-other-hands, I have finally made my decision.

As a candidate-based voter, rather than a party-driven one, I was pushed in one direction following the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and then the other way after its Democratic counterpart portrayed Obama in a different light. Every week, I seemed to perform a cost-benefit analysis of the two candidates, weighing their respective strengths and weaknesses. Romney flip-flops way too much on social issues.

Obama has failed to act decisively on numerous promises made in 2008. Does Romney’s true identity resemble that of a moderate or right-wing conservative? Is Obama too professorial, lacking the negotiating instinct to overcome an intensely polarized federal government? As Romney limped through September, firing off gaffe after embarrassing gaffe, and November 6th drew closer, my indecision reached frustrating levels.

The October debates, as a whole, directed me toward the Romney school of thought, but the aftermath of each individual debate inspired intense deliberative analysis. The first changed my thinking, but so did the second, third, and fourth.

On October 2nd, I was leaning toward Obama despite his unfulfilled promises, largely because Romney epitomized a crumbling, bumbling presidential candidate, infuriating one critical voting group after another. There was the leaked 47% comment that almost every attentive U.S. citizen now knows, and then the insensitive speech on Libya soon after the calamity, and then the awkward joke about being a son of Mexican immigrants. It wasn’t so much a case of the incumbent dominating the challenger with superior campaign resources and invaluable policymaking experience than a month-long example of shooting oneself in both feet. Untimely gaffes just kept on coming, and voters just kept on growing skeptical of the challenger’s true motives. For somebody already dealing with the annoyingly overused “out of touch” line, Romney was doing absolutely nothing to change perceptions and defy stereotypes, however fundamentally untrue.

Looking back, September was just a rough, rough month for the Romney camp. He looked more like an underground rapper delivering the commencement speech at a private suburban high school than a qualified, well-informed candidate vying for the presidency.

So, how does a Vassar student like me ultimately catch Romnesia?

Well, I guess the symptoms started setting in on October 3rd, somewhere around 10:32 PM. That was the night of the first debate, which the majority of Americans declared a Romney victory in resounding fashion. Willard Mitt Romney looked presidential. He looked confident, knowledgeable, and passionate while debating the man who had begun to pull ahead significantly, according to most polls.

As much as presidential debates are about policy prescriptions for fixing the economy, confronting social issues, and remodeling foreign policy, they are undoubtedly predicated upon presentation, attitude, and tone. Many Americans feel overwhelmed by the bare economics of budget-balancing and advanced unemployment figures (and for good reason, I may add), and so they choose to analyze the mannerisms of the two candidates instead. What they, and I, saw on October 3rd was more than a man who could be counted upon to manage bank accounts and make savvy business decisions. If I were forced to entrust my entire income to one of these two candidates, I would, without hesitation, trust Romney over Obama to keep my earnings safe. But, as a voter, I already knew this, way back in July.

During the first debate, Mitt Romney proved to me that the presidency wasn’t too great a step for him. The leap from businessman and lower-level politician to President of the United States wasn’t too long. I turned off CNN’s exhaustive coverage believing in Mitt, that he could not only handle individual earnings and make sound investments as the CEO of Bain Capital, but that he could work effectively with his energetic running mate, Paul Ryan, to address the pressing concerns that threaten the economic stability of this country; these include budget deficits, Social Security funding, Medicare funding, renewable energy initiatives, borrowing from China, persistent unemployment, outsourcing of jobs, and so forth.

Examining Romney’s demeanor during that first debate in Denver, as well as the other two showdowns, I began to believe in his understanding of the economy and proposals to get it back on track. As a voter, believability is almost everything. The businessman was businesslike in his responses to questions on deficits, taxes, government spending, and unemployment, exhuming not only confidence, but also a sense of seasoned astuteness. Understanding that the economy is the main concern in this presidential election (and all elections, in truth), I need to believe that Mitt Romney is the right man for this current economic state of affairs. And, I do, mostly because of his debate  performances this month. Did he sometimes struggle with relatively peripheral topics, such as women’s rights, contraception, and civil liberties? Yes, but the economic well-being of this country, the meatiest of all issues, has proven to be his bread-and-butter.

Of course, I wouldn’t be undecided and indecisive for so long if the former governor was an exceptional candidate, combining unmatched rhetoric, policy experience, and personal character. But, I have come to acknowledge that Mitt Romney is not Ronald Reagan. He is not the “Great Communicator” and will probably never end up coming remotely close. He is not the Abraham Lincoln of the 21st century. Reaching across party lines, if I may, he is neither Franklin D. Roosevelt nor John F. Kennedy. Mitt Romney is a deeply flawed presidential candidate. The man doesn’t wow you with his oratory skills. He doesn’t appeal to and communicate with voters in the smoothest fashion.  Oftentimes, Romney comes across as stiff, awkward, robotic, unemotional, and unconvincing.

But, I believe in Mitt Romney. When the incumbent fails to illustrate a noteworthy, transparent vision for the future, which Barack Obama did very effectively as a candidate in 2008, I am motivated to look elsewhere. When I start believing that the incumbent is more interested in slamming the other side and bashing the other candidate than constructing an overarching doctrine for a second term, a la Ronald Reagan in 1984, then I become skeptical as a potential supporter. And so, I begin exploring my options.

What do I find? Well, there’s a hardened, shrewd businessman and former governor with the moneymaking instinct to balance a budget and make tough decisions on income taxes and discretionary spending. Accompanying him is a wonkish, wildly enthusiastic congressman with the budget-balancing wherewithal and conviction to cut what needs to be cut, however unpopular it may be in the short term.

You may disagree with their vision for America, as many still do, but I believe in Mitt Romney and I believe in Paul Ryan. They aren’t perfect, but I’m convinced that they’re better for America than the alternative.

I just hope that, come 2016, my decision doesn’t take this damn long to make. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?