It’ll never happen to us.

Maybe in Five Points or the Vista or on Harbison. But not here. Nothing bad could ever happen on our campus. Nothing could ever harm us here. Why would anybody want to hurt us?

It’ll never happen to us.

It’s so beautiful here this time of year. Brisk air and beautiful sunrises. How could anyone wake up to a day like yesterday mad? Or angry? Or sad? How can you walk on the Horseshoe and not be overwhelmed with the beauty of nature? How could you not love this place? This place you call home?

It’ll never happen to us. 

Our professors will protect us. If someone were to come in here, and try to hurt one of us then my professor would be sure to call 911 and get some help. Surely, they’ll lock the door behind them when they walk in. We will be fine.

It’ll never happen to us.

And yet, it did.

The images of my peers being barricaded into their classrooms and SWAT ready to barge into my campus with shields will forever haunt my dreams. The thought of the people I love so dearly being there in that building (or very close to it) and being “thrown” into buildings for shelter scares me. Seeing my professors, who I admire so much for their courage and wisdom being scared is forever planted in my mind. Being locked into a room with my fellow dance majors not knowing how long we would be there and what was going on. Texting everyone I know to make sure they were safe. Receiving phone calls from family at home wondering where I was and if I was okay. Shaking in fear that we were next. I never in my darkest nightmares thought that all of this would be a reality for me. But yesterday, it was.

We aren’t invincible. This could happen to anyone, anywhere. Even in the safest of places, it can happen. We aren’t invincible….

But our spirit is.

Go on any social media right now and you will be sure to see a post about the tragic events that happened at 1:16 pm yesterday. The cries of my friends telling people to be safe and get inside. The messages of thanks to everyone who checked in on him/her during the lock down. The memories and condolences sent in honor of the two people that passed. The reports from Buzzfeed, Fox News, or Newsweek popping up on our news feeds. And afterwards, the love and support sent to us from schools that we deem as our rivals. Yesterday at this time, it was just another day. But today we are changed. Despite what happened, we are not afraid to leave our apartments and dorm rooms. We are proud to wear garnet and black. President Pastides called yesterday “a tragic day in our history” but it proves once again that even in the face of tragedy, our spirit and our passion for the University of South Carolina is invincible.

Here’s a health Carolina, forever to thee.

(Photo credit: Drayton McKenzie Roland)

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