Guns & Math

Thursday nights in college are technically the weekend, and I can’t tell if I love it or hate it. My outer, nearly nineteen-year old self wants to jump at the opportunities and live vicariously, but my inner forty-year old woman would prefer to put on sweatpants and curl up in a blanket while drinking herbal tea.

Even though I’ve made it to the weekend, this week was absolute hell.

Guns and Math 101 make the world a miserable place.

For those two reasons, this was one of the most overwhelming weeks of my life. The worst part was, I had to face it alone. Now before my family and boyfriend and friends and all of my internet followers take offense and pull a “What am I, chop liver?” on me, I wasn’t really alone at all- I just had to face a difficult time in my life for the first time without someone to physically hug, wipe my tears, or reassure that the world would continue spinning and the sun would rise again.

This week, I’ve felt a range of emotions, most of them negative. But when you’re talking about college algebra and sickening violence, you can’t expect anything less. Usually I write to encourage, to relate, and to spread hope/laughter/joy to my readers, but that isn’t always the real me. I’m not perfect. I don’t always think like I write. This week I was cynical. This week I had a tunnel vision of pessimism. This week I was discouraged. And most of all this week, I was terrified out of my mind.

Violence and hatred stem out of the awful root of fear, and as a freshman in college, it’s hard to not feel fear crawling outside your dorm. Mom and Dad aren’t a hallway away, and realizing this distance was an alarming milestone of growing up. I understand that everyone’s relationship with their family isn’t the same; but change is scary regardless.


Fear comes in so many forms, and whether it be broadcasted globally on the news, plastered on the front page of your paper, or hidden in the shadows when your roommate turns off the light, it’s hard to escape.

I’m not fearful for myself as much as I’m fearful for the future. I’m fearful for what will happen to me when my plans shatter, and to the world when the unexpected becomes the standard.

Most of all though, I’m just afraid of being afraid. I want to be strong and brave and independent, but when I get anxious over the most basic of math assignments, not to mention the triple-murder within a mile of my dorm, it’s rough. (Disclosure: I understand these are two extremely different situations, and one caused me much more stress/distress/tears than the other, but I wanted to mention both.)

This week may have taken a few wrinkles, headaches, peace of mind, and a few dozen boxes of tissues, but it gave me the gift of strength. I proved to myself that despite college algebra and gun brutality, I can make it through alone.

I’m confident that whether I’m feeling nineteen or forty, I’ll remember that my weakness facilities my strength, and that the sun will rise and the world will keep spinning.



Madeleine Rheinheimer

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