"I can actually see MIT from my window," she said.
Her mother was glad to have her home during the manhunt.
"She wasn't there for the lockdown and all of that," Laura Donnelly said. "Her roommates were calling asking if she had any food anywhere because they couldn't leave."
"I was getting all of the Boston University school alerts," she said.
Donnelly said "Boston Strong" posters can be seen throughout the city and on the BU campus.
"All over Boston, you see 'Boston Strong' signs. And in dorm windows, you see 'Boston Strong' signs," she said.
"That's the phrase that everyone's saying to keep everyone together and proud of their city," she said.
"Boston is a strong city, and I feel like they're doing a really good job of coming together, and showing that pride and the fact that we will carry on even though something terrible has happened," Caitlin Donnelly said.
Though a citywide unity has been evident, Caitlin Donnelly said there are still lingering side effects that will probably take longer to recover from.
"You live in a city, you hear sirens all the time," she said. "But now I feel like everybody immediately locks onto that sound, and it takes them a minute to be like it's OK."
"I think everyone's a little bit more aware now of things like that," she said.
She said the situation became very real for her when she heard a rumor a bomb had been disabled at Kenmore Station, a stop on the Boston T train, in the days following the bombing.
"That was when it finally hit me," Caitlin Donnelly said. "Because I go to that station every other day to take the T around Boston.
"Immediately when I heard that, my stomach dropped," she said. "It's just the thought of, you know, being so close to home."