For many of us, the week of April 15 felt the same as every other week. It signaled the beginning of another week of school, as well as another step closer to freedom and relaxation in the form of summer. It was also another dreaded step toward our final exams and the solidification of our future grades. As we went from class to class from the morning toward the afternoon, nothing noteworthy happened – it was business as usual for students here at UT and the rest of the nation.

At 2:49 p.m. on Monday, the Boston bombings occurred. As students and Americans came back from their work and classes, the news of the horrific bombing quickly spread. Over the course of the next few days, a national outpouring of thoughts, prayers and support were sent to the city of Boston and to those who were injured or killed in the devastating blasts. The international community, celebrities and ordinary people joined in to condemn the two people that were found to have perpetrated the attacks.

When I found out about the attacks, it was not until I was finished with most of my classes. Hearing of the attacks, I could not help but remember the feelings that arose within me during another gruesome event – 9/11. The gruesome nature of the Boston bombings was illustrated through the numerous videos and pictures released soon after. People expressed faces full of fear, anguish, and confusion amid a scene of blood trails and pools. It felt sickening, to say the least, to see the videos and pictures. To some, the attacks illustrated the cruel and harsh nature of the world. However, the attacks also showed an opposite side – the caring and courageous nature that people have.

In our media today, we hear of the endless amounts of bloodshed that happen all over the world. With the Boston bombings, one can easily say that the world is an abhorrent, unforgiving and deceiving place, full of vile people that will not hesitate in killing others if given the chance.

However, we must also remember that there is good in the world, as well. The courageous citizens and people who put their own lives at risk to attend to those who lay injured or dying after the bombings are prime examples of this. In the face of adversity and possible death, instead of running away for shelter, they ran toward danger.

It wasn't long before people here in the United States quickly organized efforts to track down the attackers, with normal citizens and government agencies sharing valuable information to find this common enemy.

The Boston bombing crisis unified the nation in a way not unlike that of the 9/11 attacks. Instead of causing fear and cynicism, it caused the exact opposite to arise. We were shown the altruistic and tenacious side that all humans, not just Americans, exhibit. Thanks in part to the combined efforts of stalwart, empathetic, and compassionate individuals, the injuries and casualties from the Boston bombings was suppressed, and we found the culprits of the heinous event. We must remember to honor all of those who were affected by the attacks, and take to heart what one banner from the recent London marathon said: "Run if you can, walk if you must, but finish for Boston."

With this last sentence, I wish all of you a happy and safe summer and hope to see you in fall 2013.

— Jan Urbano is a junior in biological sciences. He can be reached at jurbano@utk.edu.