A day unlike any other at Virginia Tech


A day unlike any other at Virginia Tech


By: Amrita Raja

(April 16) "April is the cruelest month," wrote T.S. Eliot. He might have been right, I recall thinking, as I watched snow land on flashing police lights this morning.

There must have been a reason I flopped back onto my bed after turning off my alarm this morning. As a compulsive email checker, I opened my mailbox at least every other minute as I balanced a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats in my lap. I checked the weather, checked Blackboard and grabbed a shower.

Yet in retrospect, even my morning rituals seemed a bit off - and that might have been because I was pulling on a jacket and scarf mid-April.

I had a 9 a.m. class today. Like usual, I left my dorm at 8:50 a.m. to walk to Smythe, only a five-minute walk since it's on the residential side of campus. During class we heard sirens wailing around the Drillfield in between the wind's howling, but I chalked it up to another day on a college campus.

I lingered to talk to my professor, ignoring the fact that I might be late to my 10:10 a.m. class, all the way across campus. As we stepped outside, the sirens got louder. I smiled at the student walking beside me.

"This campus is going crazy," I said. "And I don't think it's just the weather."

He grinned and shook his head.

Approaching the Drillfield, I couldn't help but note the absurdity of the scene that presented itself. There was the calm, with large flakes floating to the ground, and there, too, was the fear - students running in herds toward the residence halls, backpacks flapping.

"There's a guy with a gun on the other side of campus," someone said. "He was in AJ this morning."

That was the first I'd heard of it.

I needed to get to GBJ, I was meeting a friend there to pick up notes. My cellphone had only a few minutes left to its battery, and I gave him a call.

"I don't think I'm going to make it to that side of campus. The cops are yelling at us to get back to our dorms," I rushed to tell him the news. "Let me know if you hear anything."

When I got back to my room, my inbox was full - 12 new messages, several from listservs and the university, a few from concerned friends and professors.

For the past three hours, I've been watching the TV screen, scouring the Tech Web site and waiting on phone calls. I found out a friend of mine had been injured, shot in the leg. I sighed relief as a dormmate made it back across campus, having been held up in Randolph.

There have been several mixed messages throughout the day from the media. Faculty are being evacuated, I'm told. Someone heard that students will all have to leave as well. I'm not leaving campus, not until I get an email from President Steger and a cop knocking at my door telling me to get out.


Original Source: <a href=http://www.biglicku.com/blu/Stories/StoryDisplayPage.aspx?Title=A%20day%20unlike%20any%20other%20at%20Virginia%20Tech&ID=188> Big Lick U - April 16, 2007</a>


Amrita Raja




Sara Hood


Chris Winston <Chris.Winston@biglicku.com>




Amrita Raja, “A day unlike any other at Virginia Tech,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 12, 2020, http://april16archive.org/items/show/605.