Losing Three Fellow Students

Yesterday morning, around 5:20 am, seven international students who attend the university I attend, were out of their van changing a tire on an interstate when a drunk driver hit four of them, killing three and critically injuring another. It took hours for the community and the rest of the student body to find out about this horrific accident.

Being such a small and close-knit school, the student body immediately came together as a family. Students began tweeting prayers and comforting thoughts, retweeting information shared by the university for others to see, and calling their friends to tell them they love them. Last night, we had a vigil for the three killed. It started out that we were going to have it in our chapel, one that can only hold about 60 people or so, but when nearly the entire campus showed up, we had to move it to a larger place. And what a great reason to have to move it, so many people attending in support. Our campus pastor talked for a bit about loss and how to try to cope and how we have such an amazing support system. He then opened up the microphone to anyone who would like to say anything about the victims. This began a continuous stream of people, students, staff, staff from other colleges, offering their condolence for nearly two hours. It was the hardest thing I have ever sat through and I am sure everyone else there would agree. But yet, it was also helpful, helpful in the way of showing that nobody is alone in this.

Personally, I did not know any of the students very well, I had only seen them a few times around campus. But from what I have seen, heard, and been told, they were three of the best people in the world. All three were always happy and smiling, always made someone’s day if they were having a rough one. I do not believe it is my place to grieve for the individuals because I did not know them, but I grieve for the situation, for their families, and for our school as a whole and anyone here struggling.

These students will be on the minds of the students, faculty, and staff for months and months to come. I know we are all currently struggling with how we are able to do all of these things today, basic things we take for granted like waking up, breathing, getting on social media, talking to our friends, and being able to go to class, when we know they are unable. Hug your friends and family and tell them how much you love them as often as possible because you never know when that could be taken away.

I will close this with a final plea to anyone reading: Please, please, do not drink and drive. If you are under any influence of any kind or amount, do not get behind the wheel. If you cannot prevent yourself from doing so, then do not be under any influence at any time to prevent risking the lives of all around you. I hope thinking of these three college students who passed away so young when they had so much ahead of them will force you to make good decisions.

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