Letter from the editor: Sleepless nights

Sleepless nights are among us. For some returning students here at Santa Monica College, the fast-approaching finals week will mean more than the usual hours of studying and all night study sessions.

Rather than focusing on history and math exams, some students will instead remember the name Margarita Gomez, the woman who was slain by John Zawahri in front of the library, where a memorial for her now resides.

Students studying in the library, a usual haven for those looking to crunch out their brain power, might instead have to endure the lasting images of a madman walking into the building and unleashing havoc on those in his presence.

This year's finals week will not just be a time of academic stress but a time of remembrance for those who passed, and for those whose lives were changed during last year's June 7 shootings near and within the campus of SMC.

Last year, students looking to put a stamp on their semester were forced to deal with significantly more trauma during the home stretch of the Spring semester.

This year, those same students, the ones who stayed, will either have moved on, or might still be having difficulty adjusting to nurturing hopes of a safe campus.

Spring 2013 proved that even within the confines of a usually safe campus, the unexpected must still be prepared for. Those students in the library last year could not have imagined the events that would transpire. Now, those same students, and those made aware of the shootings, will hopefully have a better understanding of the importance in precaution.

It was a wake up call of astronomical proportions and while students are in their every right to be frightened, they should take to finals head on with a focused mindset.

This past year has proven that our student body can come together, not allowing a psychopath to dictate their academic and personal lives. Yes, the shooting was tragic but it should not be a game changer.

SMC offers plenty of support for students whose fears and worries may be conjuring up with the shooting anniversary approaching. Resources such as Psychological Services are there to give to students a helping hand through such a stressful week.

With the right mindset, and the support from each other, we will continue to flourish even through the most tragic of memories.

Understand the actions to take in emergency situations, accept the help, and focus on the task at hand.

Finals week is coming, and no madman should be big enough to stand in our way. Sleepless nights are among us. Let's spend them studying, and not living in fear.