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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Winona chapter.

I woke up to the sound of a crash, the smell of smoke, and my entire field of vision plagued with a white sheet. Did it really happen? Did I just get in a car accident?


I don’t know at exactly what moment I fell asleep. My memory of the drive is a complete blackout, startled by the moment I came to. I slammed on my brakes. I didn’t know where I was or if I was going to hit another car or what had really happened. All I knew was that it was my fault. I threw the gear in park and jumped out of the car, praying my engine would not blow up. 


The thought that I had possibly killed someone, or maybe two people, or a whole family, or one half of a newlywed couple, ran through my mind at 100 miles per hour. I knew I could never live with myself if that had happened. A boy from the other vehicle ran to my car to make sure I was okay and let me know everyone in their car was okay as well. 


I tried to keep it together and explain what had happened… but then I crashed. My mind went blank and the only thing I could say was “I’m so sorry.”


When I looked out at the crash scene, I saw just how lucky I was to be alive. I was driving on a highway in the bluffs, one side of the road reaching tall into the sky and the other side dropping to the depths of the earth. My car screeched to a halt two feet away from the guard rail, which was broken. Had I woken up a second later or not at all, I would have gone clean off the cliff, never seen or heard from again. 


For a second I thought, am I really experiencing the last vivid moments of life before death? But then, the car stopped. Though I cannot explain it, since I was young, I have always had a weird feeling I would die at 19. So why didn’t I? Why did I come so close?


The other car held three boys around my age; none of them were injured. As luck would have it, I hit their rear driver’s side door, the one spot where no one was sitting. They completely spun out and ended up in a ditch about a quarter mile down. They had been heading to Winona for a fun weekend with some friends. I was moving back home for the summer. My car was filled to the brim with my belongings… none of them \were damaged. We all walked away without a scratch (except, I had a broken hand… but we didn’t know that yet!). They were incredibly gracious and crazily enough even attempted to take me on a date. The boys I hit looked me up on social media from the name given on my license, messaged me, and told me they were happy I hit them so they could “shoot their shot.”


I guess all I’m really trying to say here is, God is real. With the way everything works out exactly the way it needs to, it’s undeniable that these things don’t happen by chance. On May 11th, I was in a very scary accident and it made me realize something. I like to pretend that I am invincible, that I can do and handle anything. While there is a lot that I can handle, I learned that I am human and I cannot survive without God. This car accident was a wake-up call.


The doctors had a few theories about the cause of my extreme exhaustion. One by one, we ruled out different theories. Ultimately, I think what it came down to was that I was trying to do everything, have everything, be everything. I worked so hard to be the best student, the best worker, Events Coordinator for my Her Campus chapter, the best roommate, girlfriend, friend, daughter, sister, human… and then I crashed. I was so exhausted from trying to do and be everything that I literally crashed. I could no longer function. I wanted to keep pushing through and my body finally had enough. The accident was a wake-up call from God. It taught me that when I try to have everything, I end up being invested in very little. I wasn’t phased about the idea that I almost lost my life because I was doing so much to make it look good on paper that it didn’t even feel all that great in actuality. I was so exhausted that I didn’t take the time to slow down and enjoy things and have fun. So I crashed. 


Make sure to take the time to recognize when to slow down in your own life so you don’t repeat this story.


Alexa Jo is a senior at Winona State studying Psychology and Communication Studies. She enjoys learning new skills, getting outside, upcycling clothes, and hanging out with the people she loves. She likes to write stories that are real, raw, and have just a touch of humor. She writes because she believes she has a lot to say, and wants to talk about the things others are scared to talk about. She uses her writing to share her experiences and uplift others. She hopes to one day work for a non profit in campaigns for social change.
| 2018-20 Club President/Campus Correspondent | Hailey Seipel is a senior at Winona State University who is studying Applied & Professional Writing and Journalism. She has been passionate about writing ever since she was little, and a dream of hers is to author poetry, sci-fi and romance novels. Until then, she is interested in working as a creative/blog writer, technical editor or project coordinator after graduating. In her free time, Hailey enjoys listening to music and reading leisurely.