Students encounter near-death experiences, alter outlooks on life

illustration by Elizabeth Prillaman

illustration by Elizabeth Prillaman

Violet Guzman-Robles, asst. features editor

A hazy moment that no one ever imagines could happen to them. Death is an inevitable aspect of life that many South students are impacted by. Some students can even say that they’ve had a serious brush with death. According to junior Joanna Skorupa, her near-death experience, a car accident, left her with more than a broken shoulder and a chipped clavicle.

“Everything was just a blur, it happened so fast,” Skorupa said. “You don’t expect [accidents] to happen, especially since we were following all the rules of the road.”

As Skorupa recalls, the car accident three years ago that could have taken her life was very traumatic. According to Skorupa, a driver had not stopped at a stop sign and hit the car she and her father were in.

“[A police officer] told us that we had pretty good timing, as crazy as it sounds,” Skorupa said. “If I was a second earlier I could’ve gotten hit and I probably would have died in the car because of how fast the other guy was going.”

Skorupa has to deal with some major repercussions of this traumatizing event. According to Skorupa, she had to quit sports due to the injuries she had sustained and her shoulder will never heal properly, according to her doctors. Despite being lucky that she was not more injured than she was, that day still haunts her.

“I learned that I need to be more hesitant, especially on the road,” Skorupa said. “You need to drive for everyone else including yourself.”

Furthermore, while in Canada over the past summer, sophomore Justin Hamelin was also in a near-death situation when he attempted to protect his younger cousin from a car that had run a red light as they were crossing the street.

“My instant reaction, being the older one, was to grab [my cousin] and throw her out of the way,” Hamelin said. “Then I realized that I should have moved myself too, and then the car hit me and I [went] flying and I hit a stop sign.”

Hamelin remembers that the car was not damaged and he himself was able to escape the scene without serious damage. Hamelin has nearly experienced death several times, including falling off a cliff twice, and being impaled by stalagmite while cave exploring.

“I am very unlucky, but I’m very lucky at the same time,” Hamelin said. “I get hurt a lot and bad things happen to me but I always survive.”

Social Worker David Hartman explains that anything with the involvement of death can impact GBS students in an abundance of ways.

“Any time you experience death or the possibility of death, it creates a situation where you realize how fragile life is,” Hartman said. “Most adolescents don’t experience the fragility of life … they believe they are invincible in many ways.”

Skorupa believes that her outlook on life changed, but she kept herself going with the hope that life would get better eventually.

“I know that you can’t take anything for granted anymore because you don’t know what’s gonna happen to you or what the result of that day might be,” Skorupa said.  “You need to live life to the fullest because you don’t know which day will be your last.”