Why I find it hard to concentrate after Feb. 14

Leni Steinhardt

Photo by Nyan Clarke

In an already rigorous high school environment, my concentration has always been tested. However, when calculating in the the mass shooting that occurred at my school one year ago, I find it difficult to make it past five questions on my math test without having my mind override with thoughts of fears and doubts.

My most difficult times are when I am in the presence of the building where the massacre occurred. In my trigonometry class, if I look up for just one second to think of a possible equation, the building stares back at me. It’s a daunting sight, one paired with immediate fear and shaking. I quickly scan the room of places I would hide if the shooter ever came back, where my evacuation site would be and if I would be the student gunned down first based upon my location to the nearest window or door. I question myself: what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop looking?

I haven’t been able to pick up and read a novel in months following the shooting and even when I do, my mind dwindles off to the dark and crowded classroom I was hiding in on Feb. 14. It’s as if my mind takes over, and I go into autopilot. I am constantly distracted by my external stimuli, and I can no longer read the words on my paper.