Brandeis University, Watertown, Boston On Lockdown

If I don’t listen to the TV’s updates, it’s a normal Friday morning. I made a lot of coffee. I’m coffee addicted. I made crepes for breakfast. I had a whole day of activities planned.

Had. I’m not going to meet friends for tea and conversation today. I’m not going to meet a former student for coffee later. I’m not going to see a professor for a conference about my masters paper. I’m going to stay in my apartment.

Brandeis University, where I am finishing my MA in anthropology and women’s and gender studies, is under a lockdown. So is the town of Waltham, where Brandeis is located.  So is Watertown, where the Boston Marathon bombing suspects lived.  And Cambridge, where I was going to meet my student and professor. And, really, the whole Boston region.

I’ve never been in a lockdown before. It’s a struggle to stay calm, to make breakfast, to write and do my school work and keep going. It’s a long day, and it is only 9 in the morning.

We go through life thinking that this can’t happen to us. In America, in Boston, at Brandeis, in Waltham, these things don’t happen and that they could does not even register in our consciousness. We do not live under a veil of terror. 

Yet, as global citizens, we should remember that much of the world does live like this.  Scared of the bombs, wondering if our friends are okay, knowing that if they do not check in with us, the worst might be true. Feeling like this takes its toll. Stress plays havoc with the body, as hearts race and adrenaline surges. But people also come together and persevere. 

Today, I cannot go anywhere. The MBTA, the public transit, has shut down. They’ve asked the taxi services to stop running also. The police are asking everyone to stay inside, because outside is dangerous with this man, armed and violent and with nothing else to lose, on the run. Today, I will stay in my apartment, and feel lucky that I have food and water, people to talk to, internet access so I can contact the people I love, to tell them that I love them.  Not everyone has that, and some people live like this every day.

I am happy and proud to go to Brandeis. I am proud of the strength of my city.  Hopefully this will be over soon, but until then, I hope everyone in the area will take the advice of the police, and stay inside.

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Rebecca Gibson

Rebecca Gibson is graduating from Brandeis University with an MA in Women's and Gender Studies and Anthropology. Her major interests include LGBTQ rights, Victorian corsetry, osteology, archaeology, and marriage equality. She has taught, edited, and written for various university publications.

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