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As I’m driving to work my mind wanders off
To a text I received earlier that day
Omg Syd there was almost a shooting at your school
She sends the email she received
A former student had guns and grenades and killing things all stowed away in collegetown At Cornell, an ivy league
My friend I’ve known since kindergarten
The email she receives trying to down play
That a man was prepared to walk on her campus
And bang
Her dorm
Her classroom
Her college town

I think about national walkout day
Hundreds of thousands of silent voices heard
My brother doesn’t walk out
Senior in high school he signed the petitions
But doesn’t think him sitting for 17 minutes will do anything
If the shooting of 20 six year olds won’t
I guess I can’t blame him
But I yell and I scream because I don’t want to see my little brothers face on the news When his high school or college gets shot up too
Who am I kidding
It won’t make it to the news
My little brother with a bullet
An image a sister, a mother, a father, should never have to think or see
Is burned in my brain
A pit in my stomach created that will never leave

I think about the dog who died in an airplane overhead bin And how legislation was
Passed
The very next day

But then I think again about Scarlett Lewis Who lost her child to a man who thought Who needs these children anyways

I think about the 7,000 shoes Of students who have died Because they sat at a desk That’s it

They sat at a desk
That’s it
Who needs these children anyway

I think how I hate the machines
With bullets
I know what I want will never be seen
But does that mean that nothing can be done We can’t make it perfect so why even try
To make any change at all
Who cares about the few lives
The few bodies that meet bullets
But it will all be fine
The 7,000 shoes are worth it
It will all be fine

I think about my quad
My school
My dream school that I worked so hard to get to
Now as I walk through my quad I don’t want to walk in the middle
There are no buildings to run into
On the left is the student center where I eat everyday
No good places to hide there but hey
A lot of other kids so hopefully I can escape
Hopefully
I look farther up and I see Tator Hall
Where students are thinking and learning
About things they don’t care about now but will turn them into doctors and lawyers I think about if they will duck under their desks
Or run to the back to call their parents
Im lucky my room is right next to the door to my dorm building
He can’t get in my room and I won’t be spending too much time in the hallway
It’s the little things we have to appreciate
I look forward and I see Echlin building
Where I sit for 9 hours a week
My classroom has a indent
Where I can run and hide

So if he just shoots from the doorway hey I’ve outsmarted him
That little indent can’t hold 23
Good thing I chose the right seat

This is also the building where I work as a tour guide
I get to show my Quad and my love for my school to students just like me
Whose smiling faces and million questions fill be with joy
And hope
And remind me why I am here for my learning
He probably won’t come here
There are not a lot of students and Im hidden in the back
And the table is large and hard to see under
I love my job
On the right is sleeping giant
Where I hiked with my friends and we sat and we looked down at our school with thoughts of our futures
The mountain was high but we got to the top
Now I look up and I see another mountain
Too tall to reach the top
I can cry and kick and scream
But that mountain top will never get near
Because to reach the top there has to be change
And if 20 kindergarteners cold dead eyes won’t do that
They I don’t think I’ll see the top in my lifetime
But hey
At least I know where to hide

I am afraid
I am afraid for my little cousins and brother For my friends new and old
For students
For my future children
For myself
I am afraid
I am afraid

I
Am Afraid 

My name is Natalie O'Hara. I'm a freshman Pre-Physican Assistant major from Long Island NY. My goal is to help freshman navigate college life as I try to navigate it myself.
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