Effectively, I've been drafted as a de facto live-in trauma and grief counselor. Some of them are totally fine and just want to get the semester finished up. Others are more distracted than usual. Some are having trouble sleeping. Others are angry because they keep crying at the littlest thing, and others just continue their lives as if nothing has happened. Some are trying to just get through with as little fuss as possible, and are perhaps more resilient and used to events disrupting their lives...well, they can't understand why their friends just can't get over it.
MIT is a very comparative place--a lot rides on where you are in relation to your peers. Many of them have a hard time realizing that when it comes to emotions, there is no wrong answer. You aren't wrong to be upset, scared, frustrated, stoic, angry, homesick, or lonely.
You are, however, human.
This is a hard lesson to be learned. And they are struggling.
And I'm sure the adults in the room that have gone through this transition, that time in life when you really think, land sakes. I can deal with this one thing at home. And this other thing at work. And this other thing with my boyfriend. But all at once? You've got to be kidding me. Wasn't life supposed to be easier when you became an adult?
...famous last words. Though it does give me a bit of perspective on my recent frustrations of adults not behaving as would behoove their age and expected maturity level. Maybe they just haven't gotten to their maturation moment yet. (I'm not going to lie, thinking of these particular individuals in their larval stage cheers me, just a bit).
Anyways--to get back to the whole point, even though this sort of counseling is something I am good at and something I am glad to do, I would be lying if I said that this has been easy.
But. Life moves along. And the girls of mine that keep getting caught up in the vicious cycle of thinking about unthinkable violence and big bad things...I tell them if you give evil a chance to spin around in your head, you have to give good the same chance. Think about the helpers, the people who ran towards the explosions. Think about the first responders, the fact that despite all odds, every single person rushed to the hospitals made it. And go farther than that..think about the good you want to accomplish in your life. Think about why you're here at MIT, what you hope do, why you want to do it. It makes getting through a day of organic chemistry problem sets far easier when you see them in the context of those problems helping you become one of those orthopedic surgeons that saved limbs and lives last Monday. Or it makes it easier to slog through the horrible mechE lab of doom when you think about becoming the mechanical engineer for Boston Scientific that helps to design next generation prostheses.
And if that's not enough---think of the kind handlers, volunteers, and therapy dogs that came to MIT on Monday. We really needed you. I really needed you.
This fellow is actually famous; he was one of the dogs that came to the Tuesday follow-up event that allowed runners to retrieve their belongings.
It's too bad there is no size reference here, but there are better pictures of them in the new article; this St. Bernard weighed about 150 pounds! And so lovable!