As most of you know, a tragedy occurred on campus earlier this week, when a UT student brought a gun on campus and proceeded to take his own life in the Perry-Castaneda Library. This library, also known as the PCL, is arguably one of the most popular places to study on campus, offering not only the most study space, but also a central location for most students to go to.
I feel like this tragic occurrence is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. While I didn’t know the student personally and everyone I do know who was close to the PCL is safe and unharmed, I can’t seem to shake the feeling of impact that the experience had on me. I think that most people were affected by the event, even though most of us weren’t directly tied to it. Students spend a lot of time in this library and I don’t know if I will ever be able to think about the PCL in the same way.
I was working at The Bobby Bones Show during the entire experience. As an intern, I am responsible for answering all of the phone calls that come through to the show. From the time it began to when the news slowed down (a period of two hours or so), I must have talked to over 200-300 people on the phone. There was a sort of wide-spread panic that was apparent through the phone calls, as people called in to say every single detail and/or rumor that they heard about the event. I spoke to a few very emotional callers which certainly struck a chord with me. It’s not something you expect as an intern on a morning talk show, but to talk to other people who shared the same fear that I was feeling was an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least.
As a UT student who loves this university, I must admit that I was doing everything I could to not panic when I was at work. I tried to focus my energy on taking the phone calls and checking in with people who I did know were on campus. It was a very helpless and desperate sort of feeling, all caused by the fear of the unknown. At the time, I had no idea what was or what was not true, and talking with panicked people kind of took its own type of emotional toll on me.
I have heard and seen some very insensitive things over the past couple of days since the tragedy, which is unfortunate. College is a rough time for a lot of students, and while the motive and back story of the event on Tuesday haven’t been revealed quite yet, my heart can’t help but ache for those who feel helpless in an environment like UT.
I guess I want to share these thoughts with all of you as a sort of cathartic release of emotion, but to also say that I hope all of you never feel alone. If anything, you have one blogger here who is willing and ready to listen to anything you have to say. We all have a place in the world and sometimes, it’s easy to forget where that place might be. But, I want to remind you all that in times of hardship and stress, things will always get better.