“I overslept today because I had some extra time…I overslept the war,” Viktor Kharyton, a senior from Odesa, Ukraine, said on Thursday mere hours after Russian forces invaded his home country.
AUBG campus woke up on Thursday morning to a flood of news about the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“It was an interesting morning. I didn't expect anything, surely. I had a morning alarm,” Oleksander Sysun, a freshman from Kyiv, said. “It was like 09:00, a.m. Flat. And I woke up because my watch and my phone were dying from notifications.”
“I mean, it's kind of hard to convince yourself to go business as usual,” Yeva Panchuk, another Ukrainian from Kyiv, said. She found going to class on Thursday difficult. “I went online and the whole time I was on the phone with my uncle, he's Russian and he was just crying on the phone and saying how he feels sorry.”
“With all this, you’re questioning yourself whether you should feel alright, like, maybe I should be more worried? Should I be more loud? I don’t know,” Viktor said.
“I had one class, but I just sat there kind of listening to the class in the lecture. But I wasn't really listening, I was more so checking the news,” Mykhailo Bachynskyi, a senior from Kyiv, said.
One student skipped class to go to the bank to withdraw all their money in fear of Ukrainian bank accounts shutting down.
To many Ukrainians on campus, as well as much of the rest of the world, the invasion was unexpected.
“Of course I’m angry and sad, and I was also rooting for diplomatic solutions until the last moment,” Viktor said, “I try not to panic because one of the things that war brings is panic, and it only increases the chances for the invaders to win the war, so I don’t think that panic does any good,” he added.
Students spent their day sifting through the flood of information for accurate news sources and hoping for updates from friends and family. Much of Ukraine’s infrastructure has been damaged, and many of the students’ families do not have reliable internet or power to be able to send word.
Our Ukrainians praise their classmates and professors for the support and interest that they have shown.
Still, being on campus is proving difficult for Ukrainians. “It just feels disgusting being here and not being able to help,” Yeva said.
“I think there is not much I can do. I’m trying to not think about doing some radical shit,” Viktor said.
However, there is a resounding belief that one of the best things students can do is to study, graduate, and work towards a world without war in the future.
“The best possible way to help Ukraine, and the civilized world, because that is what Ukraine stands for, is to stay informed, and to do your thing. Study hard, read books, and take care of your physical and spiritual self. That is what we can do because our place in this puzzle falls 10 to 15 years from now. “ Mykhailo said.
“School is my way to affect the situation in the future,” Viktor said, “AUBG is trying to help us to be world changers, and I tend to believe it. I might have an input one day.”
One student said that they want to channel their anger into becoming a lawyer so that they can prosecute Russian president Vladamir Putin for war crimes.
There are over 40 different nationalities represented by students from all over the world at AUBG. And, consciously or not, each one of those students represents their countries to the rest of campus.
Our Ukrainians are representatives of their country. They report the best information they have on behalf of Ukraine, they speak and advocate on behalf of Ukraine, and they receive our compassion on behalf of Ukraine.
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