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A Student’s Response– The CMU Shooting

 

On Friday, March 2 I woke up to a phone call at 9:02 a.m. Glancing at the number and realizing it was Central Michigan University, I rolled back over and continued sleeping. I was one of the students who had left early for spring break– so I figured the phone call couldn’t be that important. When they called again at 9:29, my curiosity heightened, and I answered just the second of a total of eleven calls.

No, I was not in the dorm where the tragedy occurred unlike so many of my friends. No, I was not on lock-down in a classroom like some of my sorority sisters. No, I was not on campus like my roommate. However, this is my school, our school, and whatever you felt that day, wherever you were, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel however you do. Your feelings are justified, because they are yours and you’re a vital part of the CMU community.

I sent out countless texts that day, texts I never thought I would have to send. “Are you safe?” “Please tell me you’re okay!?” I also received phone calls and messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years. While everyone experienced this day differently, no one should ever have to feel the way I did that day, anxiously waiting for responses.      

On Sunday, March 11 I arrived back on campus after spring break and saw newly hung posters in residence halls depicting “#WeAreCMU”. On Monday, I overheard phone calls to parents in which the topic was about how the university was “just different.” I heard students comparing their experiences to each other. On Tuesday, I watched a single tear roll down my professor’s cheek as she informed us of her experience that Friday, and the resources now available to us.

We each have different takeaways from this experience. We each have different viewpoints on what should happen next. We have each been touched in a different way. I am too used to my social media newsfeeds being filled with news of young people’s deaths. I am exhausted of seeing warnings of sex-trafficking in places I go to frequently. I am tired seeing posts of the opioid epidemic consuming our country.

Constantly being surrounded by the images of young people’s deaths has made me aware of the vulnerability of life. At times, it has made me scared to live my own life. According to the American College Health Association, in 2015, “one in six college students had been diagnosed with, or treated for, anxiety.”  With constant reminders of the terror in the world, it is not hard to understand why our generation is more anxious and stressed than the previous.

The world we live in is changing and has been for years. It is important to know that you deserve to, and should have, access to mental health resources. It’s also important to know that there is hope. You are the future of this country and you can be the change that is desperately needed.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

My name is Cassie Malhado and I’m a sophomore at Central Michigan University. Raised in the small town of Imlay City, coming to university has allowed me to expand my comfort zone. Currently, I am studying Journalism: Public Relations Concentration with a minor in Applied Business Communication to do public relations work for a non-profit or corporation after graduation. On campus I am a member of the Honors Program, am a public relations executive for Central Michigan Life, run the social media and belong to the editorial board for the academic journal The Honors Platform, and am a sister of the Delta Zeta chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. I am excited to add events planner for Her Campus on my list of involvements as well! My passions include politics, traveling, and rollerblading with Her Campus Editor-in-Chief, Kara, which I cannot wait to write more about.
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