I think it’s safe to say that it’s been the last week was one of the longest weeks of my life. Yet I’m glad that I can sit here and say that it has been a week in my life. I sit here reflecting on last week and tearing up, and fighting back these tears. But these tears during my reflection are much different from those earlier on in the week. These current ones have sentiments of gratefulness and warmth.
Last Monday was Marathon Monday for Boston. An annual day that is supposed to be conceptually amazing, but I haven’t grasped onto this concept yet. Mostly because Harvard is probably the only school in the area that still holds classes on Marathon Monday. [MIT has both Marathon Monday AND the Tuesday after off! WHAT.] I was complaining TONS last weekend about how disrespectful it is to hold classes on such a glorious day. Living near Boston, we Harvard students have the right to partake in the festivities and excitement of Marathon Monday, but classes crush all the hopes of potential community building.
Minutes after settling in an area in the Kennedy Library, my friends and I heard the loudest and unexpected boom made us jump. I initially thought there were celebratory fireworks at the marathon a mile away across the Charles River. When I looked over, I couldn’t help but squint from the massive clouds of smoke and gasp at the sight of chunks of building falling onto the street. I felt fear for the people at the marathon, and before I could really process anything else, another boom reverberated AGAIN. My friends and I decided to run across the bridge and head over to the race to check out what was going on.
As I looked around myself, I only saw chaotic crowds of people and tall buildings that all could have very well exploded too. I didn’t know where to go, no one knew what was going on. A woman beside me started crying and that’s when it hit me that something was terribly wrong. My first instinct was to call my parents. As I thanked God my Dad picked up the phone, my voice trembled as I quickly explained to him I was at the Boston Marathon and I think 2 bombs just went off…I’m okay…and I’ll call you back as soon as I can…but I’m okay. I sent a quick text to everyone who I knew was at the marathon as I tried to gather sensory information about where people were going and how they were reacting. But as police and ambulances instantaneously responded, crowds were encouraged to go home. Public transportation had stopped, there was already heavy congestion due to road blockage from the marathon, and it just seemed like the only way home was to walk.
As we collected our thoughts and senses, the officers at the scene shouted at us imploring to head over to the hospital to donate blood. The scene at the hospital is what is going to last forever engrave in my memory. The pools of blood, along with limbs hanging by a tendon were all sights that were common within the 45 minutes I spent at the hospital. When we were finished donating blood, we made our way back over the bridge, only to find out that our building was being evacuated due to a bomb threat. At this point the only thought in my mind was THIS DAY SUCKS AND IT KEEPS ON GETTING WORSE.
Everything was cancelled for the rest of the day as the news caught on. I had been through so much in a matter of just a few hours. I may or may not have shamelessly, hysterically cried when reunited with the friends I was worrying about.
There’s only really one good thing I can extract from this experience, but this one thing is beyond profound. Everyone and their mothers (literally) called, texted, emailed, Facebook’d, etc. to try to contact me to check and see if I was okay. Family members and friends that I consider family from college to high school reached out and the sense of community grew stronger than my fear. I’m the kind of person who is pretty confident in my relationships with people, but the reaffirmation of everyone’s support is truly touching and I can’t thank everyone enough!!
And when we thought the worst was over, we were hit with the unfortunate and unnecessary events at MIT, Watertown, and other areas surrounding Boston. The city was on lock down and the unknown future became that much more frightening and threatening. Harvard tried to keep students updated through their emergency system, that sends texts and emails (and they might have more options I have yet to subscribe to!).
4/19/13 was a very surreal experience. They have already covered the day in detail, so I won’t repeat myself for the sake of doing so, but it was a great relief on Friday evening to receive the news that the dramatic events starting Thursday night had come to an end. Once again the reaction of everyone from the various police forces to students on all campuses was truly inspiring, and although they attempted to blow us apart, the past week has only brought Boston closer together. My thoughts and condolences of course go out to the family of Sean Collier.
I’m beyond thankful the horrible situation is over. And I can never sufficiently express my infinite thank yous to all the ridiculously loving people in my life. It’s definitely been one of the hardest and most enduring week of my life. Harvard has definitely thrown me some of the most challenging, even life-challenging but Harvard has also, no doubt, prepped me for these challenges and hard times
It was nice to get away from Boston for the weekend after the events of last week, and has helped me to come back fully focused on school work again: having been away all weekend, and now approaching this week of lectures, its starting to pile up I can tell you! Spring term in particular seems to have flown by.
However, as is the nature of time, life continues, and while it is imperative that we remember the events and those who we tragically lost, it’s just as important that we keep moving and ensure we seek to make the most of the time we have. These past few days have, aside from the events of Friday, turned out of be one of the standout weekends of my time at Harvard.