Oh my goodness, I don't even know where to begin. You know, these things happen and you hear about them on the news. You say a quick prayer and go about your day. Maybe you contact a few loved ones... but it's always someplace else. Or that's what I thought, at least. Until yesterday.
For those who haven't been informed, Purdue University was the most recent victim of school shootings. I'm in shock and disbelief. One, because I had a class in the area of the shooting that let out at 11:45... calls about the gunshots came in at around 12:06. Two, I've never experienced such emotions before in my life. At first, I reacted like my insensitive self and didn't believe that it was really an issue. But the news kept coming in, friends were texting me from around the country, and I found out that an innocent TA was killed. I changed from insensitive to terrified in about 2 seconds. I was in lecture, but nobody was paying attention. Phones were buzzing and, all the sudden, I felt this overwhelming sense of support.
Support for the family of the victim. Support from and for my fellow Boilermakers. Support from friends and family. Even my hairdresser texted asking if I was okay! As a community of students, we organized a vigil last night and were there for each other. We had press-conference watching parties and recounted stories. And, just like any tragedy, it brings about a sense of love and togetherness. It wasn't weird to walk up to a random group and ask to walk together (and it shouldn't ever be weird, in my opinion, but it is). We became a community of support and love.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the sole victim who must be devastated by their loss, but I also thank God that only one life was lost in something that could have been much worse. At this point, I couldn't be more proud of my Boilermaker family and to be a part of such a fantastic school. We will not let this stop us from being #BoilerStrong