As the one-year mark of the Feb. 13 shooting on Michigan State University's campus nears, many students are seeing resurgences of the trauma they experienced and struggling to find ways to cope.
For students like human biology sophomore Elyssa Haddad, old memories and feelings are becoming difficult to process as Feb. 13 quickly approaches the Spartan community.
“I feel like as the year is coming up, it brings back more memories and like resurfaces everything that I felt last year when it happened,” Haddad said.
Similarly, finance junior Azalea Zaki said it's hard not to feel isolated as she reflects on the shooting.
“It was a very dark moment for me," Zaki said. "It was really scary coming from a different country and thinking that I’d be safe, you know. A lot of people were there for me, but I just really needed to be around family at the time and thinking back about it, it’s kind of sad and really scary to me.”
Human biology sophomore Julia DiMeglio hopes to find solace in the MSU community coming together to honor Arielle Diamond Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Verner, the three students whose lives were taken.
“I felt a really strong sense of community (last year), so I can anticipate that feeling coming back again this year because everyone’s going to be thinking about the same thing that we all experienced together,” DiMeglio said.
As students continue to endure the constant process of healing, some have shared how they are helping themselves grieve and focus on mental health.
For some, like DiMeglio, certain places in and around campus are now triggering, and she actively avoids them.
“I think like living in a different place (this year) helped,” she said.
For others, like Haddad, familial support and relating to others who underwent the trauma has offered relief.
“Also like talking to my friends has probably been the easiest thing, especially my friends who were there, and like my roommate who was there with me,” Haddad said. “I feel like just having your friends around is the best thing.”
Since the shooting, MSU has worked to implement additional safety measures to increase overall campus security, including increased door locks and cameras. However, disagreements have been present over whether or not the university's administration has done enough to make students feel safe and support them in a time of need.
Haddad feels the new safety measures are not enough. Similarly, Zaki believes MSU has not provided adequate support for students who are trying to heal and complete academic requirements.
“They definitely tried their best in trying to make us feel normal without, you know, explicitly saying that there was a shooting,” Zaki said. “But, I feel like the most that happened was that we got therapy dogs. If anything, it was like small businesses coming out saying ‘oh we’ll give you this free’.”
When it comes to students mentally processing a serious event, especially when they’ve experienced it firsthand, Zaki said the rate at which students are processing the shooting is different for everyone and there isn’t just one path of healing for all, which is something that should be taken into consideration by the university.
“It’s definitely a really scary thing for everyone,” Zaki said. “Everyone’s processing it differently, everyone’s feeling differently.”
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