EAST LANSING, Mich.—On the night of Feb. 13, I was in the same place I would always be on a Monday night: the Spartan Sports Report newsroom in the Communication Arts and Sciences building at Michigan State University.
However, that became a night that I will never forget.
That night was when the MSU shooting occurred. Three students were fatally shot and killed and five others were critically wounded.
After the shooting that killed three students and wounded five others, it felt like time had been frozen. We students were just stuck there to deal with what happened.
But there have been positives.
That night allowed many of us within the Spartan Sports Report to grow closer to one another than we ever expected to be. Each of us has begun to slowly recover from that night. None of us doing it in the exact same way, but we’re still doing it together.
Derrick Mitchell, a sophomore who I had met the year before, had been beside me during the shooting, and we spent the entire night side-by-side, laying under desks for cover.
“Emotionally, in the beginning, it was pretty nerve-wracking, and we didn’t really know what was going on. We were just sitting there in the dark,” Mitchell said.
Since the shooting, Mitchell has been attending and recording different sporting events for the Spartan Sports Report, and he has found it to be a great way to recover from that night.
“I’ve been going to sporting events. When we came back to MSU, I covered a men’s basketball game, and that kinda just raised my spirits up. My spirits had been low when we first got back just because campus was really gloomy.”
Since then, Mitchell has attended and helped record multiple basketball games as well as some softball and baseball games. He continues to use these sporting events as a form of emotional support. Mitchell has hopes of soon becoming an anchor for the Spartan Sports Report.
Yousef Enayah was one of the anchors during the night of the shooting and was completely unaware of the situation until our professor notified us that we had to evacuate.
At the time, many of us tried to listen to the police radio, and others tried to contact friends and family. Enayah had asked to borrow my phone charger so he could do so, but with no outlet, we had to sit near each other and use the battery from my laptop. Enayah hasn’t had to search for a specific healing process for himself, but he hopes for the community to find a way to heal together.
“I don’t really want to necessarily say I needed to focus on healing throughout this because, honestly, I never felt that I was personally close enough to the situation. But at the same time I knew the community had been shaken up, and I knew it was going to take time for us to get through that,” Enayah said.
Enayah has continued to stay in close contact with friends and family, “I just focused on the things I love most. Talking to my family, talking to my friends and doing the things that are healthy for me.”
Once we had gotten word that the suspect had been located and we came out of hiding, many of us were still shaken up. That was when the community of the Spartan Sports Report helped each other.
Nobody walked home alone that night.
I packed my car with anyone who needed a ride. One passenger in my car at the time was a complete stranger, but since then, we have grown to become great friends.
Qijing Kang is an international student who at the time had no family within the country.
While many of us were planning on going home, she was not able to.
However, even she has begun her healing process thanks to the supportive friends she has made within the Spartan Sports Report.
Since the shooting, Kang has enjoyed showing up on Mondays to the same newsroom where we first heard the news of the shooting.
“I think SSR [Spartan Sports Report] is very strong, and we continue to support each other very effectively. When we returned that Monday we all got together in the newsroom to share our love and comfort for one another.”
Kang continues to do her healing with the friends she made that night and during the weeks after.
There is no timetable as far as when all of us within the Spartan community will feel completely healed. We will continue to find ways to do our healing as individuals and a community.
Although that night will always be looked at as a tragedy, I am grateful to have been in that situation with so many amazing people.