If you’re looking for a story that will truly capture what happened Monday night, look elsewhere. My experience is vastly different than those in the effected sites or those left on campus. Honestly, it was over before I even processed what happened.
On Mondays, I have a club meeting that goes from 7:15-8:15. I’m a current 2nd year undergrad and have been in the club for my entire time at MSU. I’m even on the eboard. However, even though meetings typically get out around 8:15, I always stay after a little while longer with a good friend of mine as well as my boyfriend. That night we ended up leaving around 8:30.
Walking back to my boyfriend’s car, I received a call from a new friend at a different club. He frantically asked me where I was and urgently told me there was an active shooter on campus. He said his brother heard shots from his apartment near Landon and to get inside immediately. At this point my heart drops and I tell two of my closest friends on campus there’s a threat to our lives before sprinting to the car.
Our fist instinct is to drive up the parking garage because we’re unsure if it’s safe to leave. We all start calling other people we know who live on campus and text club group chats to get word out fast. My boyfriend tells us to get down and to stay low as we figure out the best course of action.
This is when people start streaming into the parking garage and get into their own cars. I distinctly remembering hearing a door slam shut and my nerves snap. We decide that we need to get off campus immediately so my boyfriend drives us to his apartment three miles away. It’s not even 8:45 by the time we reach his apartment.
And the rest is history. I drain my phone battery for the next four hours texting my friends, roommate, and classmates whom I left behind on campus as well as my family. Friends from UofM, Harvard, Wayne, high school, and grade school all text and call me relentlessly. I remember thinking “I thought this only happens in high school” and keep telling everyone I’m no where near the action. I’m safe. I’ll be ok. Worry about the 2 who were dead on arrival and everyone being rushed to the hospital.
I listen to the police scanner with my boyfriend, his three other roommates, and two other friends and I desperately wish I could take everyone I know off campus. I live in East Neighborhood and my heart squeezes as I hear there’s activity near Snyder Phillips, Van Hoosen, Owen, Akers, Hubbard, and Holmes. These are where my friends are. This is where they were traumatized. I keep texting them and they keep responding “I’m still safe”.
We tune into the police conference at 12:20 to learn the killer is dead. I don’t feel comforted.
Thinking back, I got off campus immediately when I found out and I’m forever grateful for the friend who thought to call me and that I was with my boyfriend and good friend. Yet I can’t help but think “Bessey isn’t too far from Berkey… he could have gone the other way.”
My story doesn’t involve hearing the screams, the sirens, the helicopters, or the gunshots. For those of you who have read this far, I greatly appreciate your support and sticking with me. This has been incredibly therapeutic to write out and has helped me process the events of February 13th.
I saw a different post talking about survivors guilt and I do think I have some of that even though I wasn’t there. I hope whoever is reading this knows that it’s completely valid to be feeling what you’re feeling regardless of where you were. It’s valid to be scared and shell shocked. It’s valid to feel guilt that you’re still here even though we have three fallen friends and five others facing the battle of their lives. The only thing that isn’t ok is to let this dominate your life. Use your voice and continue to live to the best of your ability for those who aren’t here.
I thought I was ok and came to terms with what happened but I’m not ok. Sure I have ups but I also have downs. What happened is unforgivable and it’s aggravating to know nothing will happen. If no change occurred when the five year olds at Sandy Hook were brutally murdered, who cares if three 19/20 year olds lost their lives? When will it be enough? When will it have to happen to others for them to enact change?
I don’t want to leave on a negative note so remember our motto, Spartans Will. We will get through this and we will continue to live for those who can’t anymore.