I still can't sleep tonight thinking about this...
Around midnight today, November 20th, 2014, terror struck in the library lobby at my beloved school, Florida State University. I was seconds away from dozing off (due to an early exam… don’t be fooled college students rarely ever go to bed at midnight) when I received a text message from an unknown, 5 digit phone number. It read “FSU ALERT! DANGEROUS SITUATION! Seek shelter immediately, away from doors and windows”. I expected another text and email shortly after stating “This was just a test, remain calm.”, as I have received countless times before. To my utter disbelief, it wasn't a test. An armed man had opened fire in my schools library, the place my friends and I study, the place my 40,000 peers go for comfort and belonging in times of stress. I immediately broke down in tears. I went to the lobby of my apartment where many students and our security guard hang out in the wee hours of the morning and everyone was in just as much shock. I was anxious to find out more information, the victims, the motive, just every single crucial detail that came with this heart-wrenching event.
I put my phone down finally around 4 a.m., after speaking with family and friends that were ensuring my safety and went to bed. However, I have a friend who was in the library and her phone died, so not reaching her until the morning after was extremely afflictive.
I’m sure you have all heard this on the news already but I just wanted to share my point of view.
3 people were shot this morning. But more than 40,000 Seminoles were hurt today. I have never seen more people come together over something in my entire life. IMMEDIATELY, there were vigils and services planned to just gather with our peers and cope. There was food, drink, and prayer, along with dozens of cops, news crews, and police tape surrounding Landis Green the morning after. A sight I never thought I would see. The entire mood was changed on campus. I walked around and everything was silent. It felt just beyond bad-mannered to even laugh or smile today, but I didn't even want to.
Today, all school across Florida and the United States came together as one. The rivalries were put aside. UF students showed their respects in such a manner that I don’t think I could ever show hatred for them again.
Virginia Tech students decided to do our famous “Tomahawk Chop” at their next game.
Everyone today has become united, and I have never felt more alive and thankful to be a part of such a community. We are strong. We are Seminoles. We will get through this and beyond this.
Today I feel unconquered. Like every Seminole should every day. But today I learned a lot about tragedy, what it does to people, what it makes you feel. I have never lost a very close loved one, so I didn't know what tragedy felt like. Today I experienced an emotion that is unlike any other. I locked eyes with random strangers while passing by and silently exchanged glances that showed our respect and remorse. This tragedy that occurred today is unfortunate, to say the least. But my eyes and heart have been opened.
We can take this situation and turn it positive. We can use this experience to get up in the morning and go to class. And for the rest of my life the vibes I experienced on campus today will never leave my soul, for they are unlike any other, stronger than anything I’ve experienced, even love. From this situation I take with me the courage to live every day like it’s my last. As much of an “over-used” saying some may claim that to be, it’s what I feel and feelings cannot be cliche, for they are unique to one’s self.
I will wake up tomorrow stronger and I will do the things I told myself I would “just do tomorrow” because that is what tragedy does to people. Tragedy is a reality check, a harsh one at that, but it puts a lot of things into perspective. Your petty problems seem so significant until something bigger than you takes over.
please. please. please. send your thoughts or prayers to our student body, staff and faculty tonight as our hearts weigh heavy for what happened in our home. ONE TRIBE. ONE HEARTBEAT.