It was just before graduation. We seniors were getting ready to say our emotional goodbyes, but also move on to a new and exciting chapter in our lives. Everyone was happy. The freshman finally felt older, the sophomores were about to become upperclassmen, and the juniors were celebrating yelling, “senior season”. Summer plans were being discussed in the halls as students signed yearbooks and wished each other a good break. It was a great day. Or so we thought. It happened in my favorite class, psychology. I wanted to take this class my senior year to see if it would be a good major for me to study in college. I have never really felt intrigued by academic subjects, I have valued spending time with friends, traveling, and learning about people more than anything school has taught me. I am the type of person who learns outside of the classroom, and even though this caused my schoolwork to fall behind, I knew that my priorities were right for me and who I am as a person. Psychology gave me the ability to do what I find interesting and do it at school. It’s so ironic, and tragically fitting that it happened during the time I was in my favorite class, a class that teaches about human behavior and why one may do something like this. My hometown of Austin, Texas is very diverse and I have loved growing up here. I will be attending the University of Texas, my dream school, in a week. In fact, I am going to be studying psychology there. It will be my first time back in a classroom since the shooting. 12:11 p.m. The tardy bell just rang. We all started to take our seats and prepared to take notes, as we always do during the start of class in 4th period psychology. Then it happened. The thing we all have seen on the news, but never could imagine happening to us. Our school. A good school, in a nice neighborhood, it just didn’t feel real. I don’t understand. I can’t comprehend why people feel the need to have semi automatic guns. If it weren’t for one AR-15, my life would not be like this. I wouldn’t be traumatized to go to school again, I wouldn’t have flashbacks of holding my classmate’s gushing bullet wounds. But no. It happened. One gunman changed the lives of more than just the people shot. The families and friends of the injured and dead, the students who were at school that day, the teachers who had to hide students in their classroom, and the parents watching the news who didn’t know if their child would come home. I live with my parents who own guns. It’s hard for me because it’s people like them who are stopping gun regulations. It feels like they would rather have guns than have their children be alive and safe. It feels like I am misheard in my own family because I have realized and tried to explain to them that none of this would have happened if it weren’t for guns. I could have died that day. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones who survived. However, I still, to this day have traumatic flashbacks of holding the gushing bullet wound of my classmate. Despite my efforts, my peer later passed away in the hospital, along with five other students and a teacher. And my own family still thinks it’s their right to own guns. Even though I almost died. Even though their own child, witnessed such slaughter. Even though guns have advanced so much since our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, many still use the 2nd Amendment to advocate for their right to possess these weapons. I understand that people in Texas have been raised doing activities such as hunting, which require guns, however, why would one need a weapon used in wars to do this? I just can’t process how after this tragedy, people still don’t see a need for change. No teenager, child, or adult in fact, should ever have to experience what I did that day, my peers did that day, and what so many fellow Americans have experienced in recent years. I will be starting college in a week. The nervous excitement and anticipation of a new journey, but I am also scared to see how my emotions will handle the change. The fear of the unknown. How will I feel or react to being on a school campus again? Despite going to school since the age of 2 years old, one day changed the way I will always see schools. Obviously, I wish the shooting never happened, but it did, and I am still having to accept it. So many emotions. Sadness, fear, love, anger. Anger. I can’t put into words the anger I have for the man who committed this horrific act. I deserve to have a normal college experience, without the constant fear of this happening again, and so does every student. I know that life will always throw hardships my way, however, I now know, I am strong enough to get through it.
Here is a screen shot of the program, Adobe Audition, that I used to create the audio version of my story.