Last night, there was a shooting in my schools library, Robert Manning Strozier, referred to as Stroz by all Florida State Students. At around midnight last night, I received an email from the FSU Alert system saying there was a lockdown on campus and a situation happening. Personally, I don’t live on campus and was not planning to head that way anytime soon, so I went to sleep. At 7:30 am, I got a call from my frantic mother asking if I was okay. I had no idea what she was talking about. When she explained, I immediately said I needed to hang up and make some calls.
It is the week before Thanksgiving, and two weeks before finals. Most people live in the library during this time. I have one friend in particular who sends me daily Snap chats of herself studying at Stroz. I called and called, but her phone was off. Scariest moment of my life. Finally at 8:30 or so, I called another good friend of ours, who thankfully had heard from her around 4:30 am, and that she was fine.
News, photos, status updates and tweets all began slowly pouring onto my phone. By 10 am, I knew that students had barricaded the doors to the stairwells, hid behind bookshelves and ran for the closest exits on the first floor. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be there while this was happening. Watching videos of a place I spend countless hours studying and not studying, in a screaming panic made me feel something I never thought I would, fear in a safe place.
Florida State is known for our strong football team and unity as a community. It’s weird for me to say this because I’ve been itching to graduate in December all semester long, but it’s true. We are one family. Once a Nole, always a Nole. After finally reaching all my friends and knowing that they were okay, I calmed down.
You always see these stories on the news about school shootings, but you honestly cannot understand it until it happens in your safe place. It is a terrible feeling to know that someone came onto our campus with the intention to hurt students. Even though I was not at the library, I just as easily could have been. I feel for the people who were there, and I hope they can get through it. It is awful to feel that something this shocking could happen to us. I believe that they can come through this because FSU students are tough.
I also think it is important to acknowledge the FSUPD. They deserve a major pat on the back right now. They responded quickly and efficiently in order to keep the students safe. That is what makes the students know that while a horrible thing happened to us, we are surrounded by these people who can keep us safe.
Florida State has given me some of the most remarkable and craziest years of my life. It is a safe place with a strong connection to each other no matter what the situation is. This year, FSU has been through so much, a National Championship winning football team, some intense accusations and charges against our players, and now this. We are strong throughout our challenges, and continue to be united as a university. Through it all, we come together as a family, the Seminole family.