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'Day by day': Different ways students are coping with tragedy

March 2, 2023
Crowds gather in mourning and support at the Student Led Candlelight Vigil on Feb. 21, 2023 outside the Fairchild Auditorium and The Rock.
Crowds gather in mourning and support at the Student Led Candlelight Vigil on Feb. 21, 2023 outside the Fairchild Auditorium and The Rock.

After the Feb. 13 mass shooting on Michigan State University's campus, various resources have been provided for students and community members that need assistance in coping with the tragedy.

Students have also found comfort in their own methods of healing as they work to figure out what grieving and processing looks like for them. 

Human development and family studies Ph.D. student Atikah Bagawan said she has been going through a lot of emotions since the shooting. One of the few outlets she has been using is her friends, especially ones that understand what she is going through. For her, a one-on-one approach is helpful, she said. 

Bagawan is an international student. Since the shooting, it is easy to feel disconnected from others since she can't just go home, she said. 

“Connecting with people from the same culture and to be able to feel that sense of home and belonging and community … really helped,” Bagawan said. 

Bagawan said she plans to keep talking with her friends about experiences and feelings throughout the rest of the semester because it works for her and “there’s a sense of trust”  between she and her friends. 

Secondary education sophomore Emmett Flannery has been spending more time with his friends who share a similar experience to him, whether that be “hanging out in their room and getting food” or studying with them. Flannery said it’s important to “just be out and be with friends and be social.” 

Although Flannery is using his friends as an outlet, he is also taking advantage of mental health professionals that help him in various ways. He said he plans on using many of the resources the university has provided.

“The university has been pretty good about giving us the stuff to do, like the therapy dogs are kind of all the wellness and health stuff, and that’s just been really good,” Flannery said. “I will have access to a lot of mental health resources, like outside of school, that I’ll definitely be using, because there are just so many emotions that come with going through something like this. There’s so much confusion and shock and even guilt.” 

Construction management sophomore Collin Rabe has opted to spend more alone time while processing recent events.

Rabe said he has gone through a lot of emotions in the past week and a half and is still trying to figure out how to slowly improve his life to be back to normal. Rabe said the first few days following the shooting “started off pretty traumatic” but he has been learning since then to “take it day by day.” 

Rabe has also spent more time in the gym as a coping method.

“I’d say working out a lot, just trying to keep my mind off of it and stuff like that,” Rabe said. “I wouldn’t really be opposed to (the school’s resources), but I just haven’t really looked into it too much yet.” 

Bagawan is hopeful for the future of the Spartan community and believes that the various resources available to students can improve their mental health. 

“There’s a lot of emotions and it’s been helpful to know that the community is very supportive,” Bagawan said. “There are a lot of resources for you. Utilize that and see which one works best, and just feel which one is your strength and go that way.” 

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