Hokies reflect two weeks later

Charlotte Savercool, a freshman at Virginia Tech, said all the hallways of her dorm are almost empty, as most students did not take exams.,”

Wednesday was the last day of classes for Virginia Tech students, and students said taking exams is tough while coping with the tragedy.

Charlotte Savercool, a freshman at Virginia Tech, said all the hallways of her dorm are almost empty, as most students did not take exams.

"The teachers have been really supportive," Savercool said. "They let us choose if we want to keep our same grade or finish certain assignments."

She said the teachers won't grade anything that hurts your average.

Laura Gill, a senior, said most teachers have assigned group projects so all the work doesn't fall on one student.

"None of us can imagine sitting down and studying for an exam," Gill said. "It's too much for anybody."

Gill said walking into the classroom on the first day back on April 23 after the shooting was the hardest part.

She said she kept thinking about the shooting – about how the victims thought it would be a normal day.

"Once I was in class, I'd relax a bit, but changing buildings was really rough for me," Gill said. "My heart would start racing, and then I would calm down and realize it wouldn't happen again."

Junior Chris Barrett said classes were the most full on the first day back except for exam days in previous years.

He said teachers talked about what happened in each class.

Savercool said teachers would let students voice their opinions but she has gotten tired of talking about the tragedy.

"After the second and third classes, I didn't want to talk about it anymore," Savercool said.

She said the shooting has been hard to deal with, and she cannot bring herself to watch the video the shooter left behind.

Savercool said she realized the shooting's impact when she looked on the Internet and heard from other students it was the largest school shooting ever.

"The best way for me to deal with it is to see the memorials and not watch the news," Savercool said.

Gill said the reality of what happened hit her when she went home after the shooting.

"It was really hard to come back into (class)," Gill said. "The memories came rushing back. We're in a bubble here and no one understands until they come here."

Gill said it's better when she's with people and hardest when she's alone.

She said she and her friends have been having nightmares about the shooter.

"I see images of him holding the guns, and I watched the video, which I think was a really stupid idea," she said.

Everyone is trying to get back to normal, Gill said, but no one can get it off their minds.

Barrett said the campus seems more empty since the media left.

"For a while it seemed like people were pretty sad, but they seem to be doing OK," Barrett said. "A lot of people are finally getting out of here."

Gill said the campus looks like one big memorial, and the university received a lot of support from other colleges.

She said orange and maroon ribbons and signs reading, "We will prevail" hang all over the place.

Savercool said the Hershey Company made free orange and maroon Kissables candies for students.

"It's stuff like that," Savercool said. "The support is so much more comforting. It's negative when we still talk about the killer."

Savercool said before the shooting she didn't think she'd be sad to leave, but now she doesn't want to go home to Maryland for the summer.

She said students at Virginia Tech have bonded and are in the same boat.

"My friends at home won't understand when I get sad one day," Savercool said. "They'll never understand and they never will."

Gill said the community has grown a lot closer. She said the campus has always been happy, but people are now even more friendly.

"Everyone here is your friend," Gill said. "Down at the bars, we're making so many more friends because everyone is closer."

Gill said she's staying at school this summer and thinks it will be interesting to see how the university cleans up campus while paying respect to the tragedy.

She said Norris Hall, where the shootings occurred, will remain closed for the time being. The building's future is being debated.

Barrett said he's also staying for the summer.

"I love it here," Barrett said. "I'm taking classes all summer here so I'm not ever leaving."