Students across the nation’s campuses are still struggling to make sense of the events in Boston.

Julia Greenwald, a sophomore in the School of Communication at American University, shares her thoughts in the student newspaper:

I read tweets about an explosion at the Boston Marathon shortly after the attack took place. Then videos and pictures leaked on Twitter that made me sick. It was hearing the screams, seeing the bloodstained sidewalk and watching people rip down barricades and barriers that made me just cry.

…Everything seemed so unfair to me. Why did an attack so close to home affect me in such a powerful way, when attacks on innocent lives that I read on headlines daily seemed to do nothing? How had I become numb to such acts of horror? I don’t like explosions or people dying, but why did it take two violent attacks to remind me of that?

Shortly after the attack, a quote by Fred Rogers (of “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood”) began trending on Facebook:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

I want to be a helper, and one of the things I like most about AU is that I feel it is a place filled with helpers, students who care about important issues but don’t just sit around passively and do nothing. AU students want to make a difference, so we cannot let ourselves become numb and detached from those who need us most.

Where do we go from here? There may be nothing anyone can do to end violent attacks of terror on innocent people forever.

However, we can all be helpers, even if, at the very least, that means not becoming numb to the violence that plagues our world. We, as individuals, must attempt every day to make the world less violent, one kind gesture at a time.