Liz Freda, a Northeastern University student from West Hartford, said that Friday had been especially difficult.
She woke up to find "a ton of text" messages ordering her to stay in the dormitory. Later, she heard the thrum of helicopters overhead.
"This morning I was really scared. Monday I was scared, but this just seems a lot worse to me," Freda said. "I'm not sure what's so different. ... It felt like a nightmare when I woke up. It's right out of a movie."
Freda was supposed to have a Spanish final Friday, but it was postponed. With the term ending, she has friends who have plane tickets to depart next week, but she was wondering if they would be able to complete all their exams before their scheduled departure.
Matthew Macca, a West Hartford student at Boston University, said "horrific is the best word" for the past week.
He said it finally seemed as if life was edging toward normal when Thursday night's violence broke out with the MIT shooting.
"My dorm is right off the highway, and after we got that news report, it was literally like cop cars everywhere. The lights were flashing, the sirens were blaring," Macca said. "It was like they were trying to smoke out whoever they were looking for."
When students describe the past week's events, the word "surreal" comes up a lot. "For me, personally, with the bombings on Monday. … My friends and I had been there a half-hour before. It's very much like that could have been us."
For Lazowski, that unreal feeling surfaced when he was out playing football on the Boston Common earlier this week, right next to an encampment of military, police and Humvees.
Courant staff writer Amanda Falcone contributed to this story.