I want to write about the emotional roller coaster I’ve felt the last few days about the senseless and tragic incident that happened to our community. But, there’s so much to process, I don’t even know where to start. If this is a rambling post, that’s a reflection of my feelings at this point. It’s hard to believe this could even happen in our community. I’m still in shock, sometimes feeling numb. I personally don’t know the students that died, though not all of their names have been released, but I am feeling the impact. I cannot even imagine the sorrow their families and friends are going through. I’m not on the front line like my fellow UCSB colleagues and so I cannot even imagine the emotions they are going through with as they deal with their own emotions and those they are helping. How could this happen to UCSB community? It doesn’t make sense. I feel angry, frustrated, sad, confused, and hopeful that something good will come out of this. The healing process will be slow and painful. We will all grieve and go through the healing process in different ways. The degree to how we will feel the pain will vary but I think we will have been changed by this incident in some way or another. In the next few days, even weeks, as our community will begin to process and more information will come out along with the personal stories of the victims, we will all be reminded how connected we really are as a community. Personally, I expect stories from my UCSB colleagues and students who interacted and even developed relationships with the victims, our students. I am grateful, and not surprised, at the level of response of our university in our efforts to help students and those affected cope with this tragedy. Minutes after the shooting occurred, several of my student affairs colleagues went back to campus to offer counseling and provide information.The Candlelight Vigil held last Saturday evening, an event led by students, organized by many, and attended by thousands showed how quickly our community can come together and work as one. The outpouring of support from UCSB alums through social media, student affair colleagues from other universities checking in to see how we’re doing have been really helpful as well.
I have long considered UCSB as home since I came here as a student in 1991 and when I turned professional. It’s a place I thought I could get away from, leaving the university twice, but I felt the need to come back. It just feels right here, professionally and personally. It’s during these unfortunate times that I know, what I have here is more than a job. It’s part of my life. My wife and I both have spent half of our lives here. The students I get to work with and get to know, my colleagues I come to respect and value, and the pride of being a Gaucho — these are the reasons why I’m still a part of the UCSB community.
“Everyone in IV please stay inside right now.” This was a status update I saw on Facebook at approximately 9:30 pm on Friday, May 23rd, 2014. It was from a student I just recently met a few weeks ago through our Filipino-American student association at UCSB. A flurry of updates from other students soon followed urging others to stay inside and an alum visiting Isla Vista posted she saw “a guy bleeding to death…”. I could never have imagined this horrible event could ever happen at UCSB. This has been a crazy few days. Tragic.
I end my thoughts with this – we’re a community. As a community, I know we’ll support each other. We’ll be there for each other.