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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Content warning: This story discusses sensitive topics, including school shootings and a brief mention of suicide.

Starting on Monday night at 8:18 pm, on February 13th, life would never be full of color again. A chill will always run down my spine at the sounds of sirens. The mumbling from the police scanner announcing that the shooter had died by suicide will continue to ring in my ears. Somehow, some of me thought I was immune to it all. There was no way this could happen to me, but it did. I am a survivor of a school shooting, and there is no way I can deny it. 

On Tuesday morning, I rushed home, vision blurry and head pounding. I spent all day in bed. I was lucky if I received a second of sleep. Words barely left my lips. My humanity was left in the suite-style bathroom from where I was in lockdown for 4 excruciatingly-long hours. 

Wednesday felt brighter. However, it blurred into Thursday. Friday, I finally left my house, and I went to my local bookstore with my best friend. As pathetic as it seems, I felt like “I was in a mass shooting” was written in bold on my forehead. In actuality, life ran its course and no one said a thing. Every person lived their life as if mine did not stop. 

I arrived back at Michigan State University on Saturday. It felt too soon, but the Band-Aid was ripped off of me. Some friends of mine held a dinner night, which included making friendship bracelets and coloring. Every person shared their perspective of that gruesome night. In that little apartment, I felt the wound slowly start to heal. 

Sunday was Spartan Sunday. All of the Red Cedar River was full of families and alumni donating to Spartans. Some gave out candy, some gave out food, and some held colorful “Free Mom Hug” signs. School pride was never my thing, but the comfort that laced the air that day was incomparable and life-changing. Never had I ever felt so heard. For a minute there, I never thought I would feel at home again. 

Life went on. People hugged me so tightly, it might have cured me. I told my story, and I listened to others. Everyone of every age and identity gathered in unity after this monstrous tragedy to find any sort of peace. 

If I have learned anything at all from this event, it is to tell people you love them. Show you care, because this one life is in a constant state of fragility. Be kind to the minimum wage worker, the bus driver, or your little sister. Tell your friends they mean the world, as I’m sure they’ll return that sentiment. These tragedies are increasing in commonality, and eventually, stories like mine will fade into the background. Become educated and spread love in every form. 

This is still an ongoing investigation, so it is important to stay up to date on reliable resources. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.

My name is Rachel and I am a sophomore studying at MSU. I am majoring in psychology with a minor in child development. I love to write and am creating interested in trends, music, movies, and college life.