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What kind of person am I after surviving Borderline?

This week marks the two year anniversary of the Borderline shooting—something that is equally as painful as it is important to remember.

In my reflections, I can only speak to my personal experience that night and the days following because I never had the privilege to know Alaina Housley, though I know from the testimonies of her friends and family that the world was all the brighter with her in it.

What started as a college line-dancing night turned to something evil when the shooter took the lives of 12 and created ripples throughout the Pepperdine community.

That night there was confusion, chaos, and an immense amount of fear. I remember asking God, "Why is this happening?" I remember waiting to hear if it was safe to come out of hiding, waiting to have statements taken from the police, waiting to hear if everyone was okay.

With two years having gone by, I'm still wrestling with the question, "What kind of person am I after this?"

As I reflect on the trauma of November 7, 2018, I want to give it the importance it deserves, but to also move forward with an empathy that looks beyond my own experiences.

I've been learning that we as humans have all gone through exceptionally hard things, but I don't think we give each other enough space to grieve, then process or work through them. Life is really hard. COVID-19, isolation, the injustices in the world, have all taken a toll on our minds and hearts and I believe that it is okay to feel pain deeply. It's a beautiful silver lining that we can find a common ground in our experiences that allows us to be better friends and better people.

I want to be quick to empathize with others, extend grace, and listen. I want to have come out on the other side of Borderline more fully embracing God's plan for me and more equipped with understanding the pain of others.

I'm hopeful that we'll all learn to listen and wrestle and grow alongside each other.

I'm hopeful that our pain lends itself to empathy and our desire to see a better world motivates us to strive for a better way of living.

Annabelle Childers (Seaver '22) Annabelle Childers from Little Rock, Arkansas,  is a junior journalism major at Seaver College.