Waking up on October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada was one of the most confusing days of my life. On September 30, 2017, I got back from a trip to Utah to celebrate my mom's birthday party. It was a wonderful weekend but the trip back was exhausting. I had school the next morning and I was already tired enough. When I got back home with my family I unpacked and got my stuff for school ready. Before I went to sleep that night, I woke up the next morning to my alarm clock playing "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood.
Ironic, right? I got up and just got ready for school. I got dressed, did my makeup, and got ready for my classes. I even took a few minutes to study for my math test again. My morning routine takes over 45 minutes for me to start and finish. That includes getting dressed, cleaning up, setting up my backpack, fixing up my lunch, and eating breakfast. Not once during that time did I look at my cell phone because if I did I would get distracted. Which is something I would rather not do because I would have been late to my eight o'clock class. When I was waiting for my mom to take me to school I opened my phone and saw a boatload of texts from my friends and family.
The texts asked me: Are you alright? Please tell me you're okay. What happened? Did you guys make it home safe? I read all of these texts and I was so confused I didn't understand. I finally asked my mom what happened and she too was confused until the news was turned on and we saw the reports about the shooting. I was shocked and I was also terrified of something like this I believed could never happen where I live.
Then again someone would always think that before it does happen. The Route 91 Music Festival was an event many of my friends I knew were planning on going to. But they ended up not going either because of work or school. I remember the day before when we were arriving at home we passed the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The strip was very crowded preparing for the festival and that morning it all just hit me. That morning went from being calm to stressed out and terrified.
I live near Henderson, Nevada, and I go to College of Southern Nevada West Charleston Campus. It's only a 40-minute drive on the freeway when my mom drives and that morning when we drove on the freeway, it was filled with traffic, not with just regular cars but with on-duty first responders taking Las Vegas Boulevard. During the ride to my school, I could see the strip filled with blue and red lights. The radio station continued to talk about the attacks and explained how many hospitals were responding and attempting to help all the victims. When I arrived at the school there was the biggest tension around us.
I could tell everyone was terrified, none of us felt safe, but we had no choice but to be there for our education. I was too distracted by the shooting to really focus on my math exam. That exam was the worse grade I ever had with math. But we all knew we couldn't relax; this was too much heat. By the time I was done with school, I was exhausted mentally and physically. I was terrified, I just went home and tried to stay calm. In my past I suffered many losses, which is why it was harder for me to bottle up those emotions. But what set me off was my roommate living with me and my mom and her boyfriend.
She had the audacity to say, why does it matter to us? We were not there. Everyone dies someday. She has a hard time understanding things because of her high-functioning autism. But I was so upset because I have only lived in Las Vegas for almost five years and not once did I think badly about the event that happened. She has lived in Las Vegas all her life and she should understand that even if there is an attack such as the shooting that happens when she was younger or growing up, her mom would have taught her to never say something as cold and disrespectful as she did that day.
I told her that it doesn't matter if you were at the event or not this is the whole community of Nevada that is affected. Innocent lives were lost and there is no reason to say something as cold as that. Be grateful for the life that you have and support those who are having a harder life then you especially the victims and their families from this attack. She said those things at dinner and that night when we were done I went straight to my room and started crying. I was so grateful that my family was alive and safe and that no one I knew was there at the shooting.
I never once thought something like this would happen to my home. But it did and it affected so many lives and I saw it. I did my best to support my community it only made me more determined. I am a psychology major, my specialty is to work with kids that suffer from trauma. I'm the psychologist that will help them slowly come out of that trauma and overcome that fear. Though they may not officially get over the trauma, they will have a better chance at not being affected by it. If any event such as October 1 happens again I will do my best to help the community. Because I may not have been at the event, but I still live in Las Vegas and I will never ever give up hope of recovery and safety for not just Las Vegas but for everywhere else.
We are Vegas Strong!