Feb13; 8:32 PM: “Run, Hide, Fight”
As I racked my brain to text everyone I knew that could be on campus at the time, I called my mom to let her know I was “safe” and not too close to the initial shots. After hanging up, I quickly locked & barricaded my door, shut the blinds, turned off the lights, and quickly searched for access to the police scanner. About 5 min after I got off the phone with my mom, I hear “unknown subject running towards Owen Hall”. Everything in me went into panic mode, I called my mom to let her know that there was the possibility the shooter entering my building. While I tried to keep my composure, there is no collection of words I could put together to describe the pain I felt hearing my mom’s scared voice as she tried to keep me calm on the other end of the phone. I spent the next 4 hours (like many of you) alone, scared, and trapped. I’d become a prisoner in the very same spot that has provided me comfort since the Fall.
Since Monday, I’ve been asked a multitude of times if I am “okay.” My response has always been “I’m alive, and that’s more than I could’ve asked for.” However, every part of me wants to scream and shout. I am currently off campus and while I know its okay not to be okay, there is absolutely nobody around me who can begin to understand the few words of feelings that I can express. Yes, I am safe physically but I don’t know how long it will take for me to ever be okay. I am scared to sleep, can barely eat, and don’t even dare mention going outside.
Today is February 17, 2023 and most of our country has moved past these traumatic events and returned to their “normal” lives. For Spartans, there is nothing normal about today, tomorrow, yesterday, or any day of this week. It is another day mourning our peers and trying to heal ad cope from traumatic events that transpired. It is another day replaying the moments when we locked ourselves in dark rooms as we contacted our friends & families to send “I love you” texts, not knowing if or when we’d get to say those words again. It is another day living in fear of a campus we call home. It is another day wondering how we’ll get up and go to class without scoping every exit and mapping out escape plans, preparing for another mass shooting. It is another day trying to gain back the sense of security that was so viciously ripped from us. There are no words to explain the overwhelming feelings that consume us as everyone tells us to stay strong. We yell SPARTAN STRONG and GO GREEN from the top of our lungs any chance we get. However, while we are strong that does not mean that our hearts are not shattered and lives have not been broke, WE ARE NOT OKAY. As we look at our campus that was once filled with so much joy, we now see an eerie, empty shell of people and buildings consumed by the sadness. While the rest of the country gets the benefit of returning to their daily lives in communities that make them feel safe, we have had even the mere opportunity of that ripped from us. We flinch at every noise or sudden movement, we triple check u if we locked our doors, and we replay every scared second of those 4 hours.