UNCC students try to cope with campus trauma

It was a quiet day on UNC Charlotte's campus as students and staff continue to cope from Tuesday's tragedy.

“I’m just shattered,” one UNCC student told FOX 46.

UNC Charlotte students and faculty returned to the campus they call home on Thursday, but the feeling on school grounds was unmistakably changed.

“It isn’t until just now I stepped on campus and realized what really happened to us,” she said. “I was just numb at first and it wasn’t until I parked my car that I kind of took in everything that happened.”

“Everyone is paranoid at this point because it just happened,” said Jabari Brooks.

The places where students would usually be gathered are empty and silent.

RELATED STORIES: 

“The campus is basically a ghost town. The library is empty, the union is empty, walking around campus it’s empty. You see people paying their respects, but in terms of energy it's heavy sadness and calm and quiet,” Leslie Nyandjo said.

Flowers, candles and words of prayer and encouragement are popping up all across the campus to remember the lives lost, and those forever changed.

“For me it’s surreal. This really happened. People really died on campus,” Brooks said. “It’s heartbreaking you think ‘what if I had class late and was in that building?’ That really could’ve happened.”

Students say it's hard to feel safe in a place so recently shaken. “Everyone is really gonna feel unsafe, honestly,” Brooks says. Despite the tragedy, Niner Nation remains resilient, and continues to come together to heal, spreading the message that the 49ers will forever be #CharlotteStrong.

“What happened isn’t going to define us, what defines us is our sense of community and love for each other.”

UNC Charlotte officials are now offering two options for students to complete their final exams: They can either forgo taking the exam and accept their current grade as final, or they can take their final exams, which have been rescheduled for next week.