An Evacuated College Student

Hurricanes are a phenomenon of pure natural power. Hurricane Matthew paid a visit to our campus last week and clearly demonstrated that power, forcing us to start our fall break early here at Florida Tech.  That leaves the question, “What do you do as an evacuated college student?”

Hurricane Matthew forced our campus to close early on Wednesday, October 5 at 1 p.m. Exams, assignments and classes were all postponed.  Students were urged to find friends, family or shelter from the impending doom that was Hurricane Matthew. Many students evacuated the school and caught flights out-of-state to various parts of the country. Throughout this process, the school’s number-one priority was maximizing the safety of its students.

I evacuated to Lakeland, Fla. to weather out the storm, with friends and their family. Hurricane parties now are nothing like what they used to be. With all the rations for a few days of no power, those turned into gourmet dinners, as we never actually lost power. Old-fashioned board games were replaced by Netflix marathons and visiting a trampoline emporium, and literally bouncing off the walls to prevent boredom. Sadly, all things must come to an end and it did so swiftly.

Reality set in, with midterm week fast approaching. What do the shifts in class schedules mean for our students? Instead of hurricane parties, some students were forced to spend their fall break studying instead of relaxing. Trips and travel plans were cancelled due to Matthew, replaced by text books and power outages.

Returning to Melbourne, just a day after the storm, we were lucky to find our homes and campus largely undamaged. Lucky for our area, Matthew deviated off course and spent his time farther off our coast than initially predicted, largely sparing us. With power quickly returned to the area, only one thing remained, internet. With electronic due dates remaining unchanged, students had to improvise submitting their assignments. From typing them out on their cellphones to borrowing 7-Eleven Wi-Fi hotspots.

At the end of the day, evacuate was more than just the stress of the impending natural disaster. It was the stress of working on all those assignments, of having exams shifted and moved around, and most importantly it was about turning good friends into great friends, and seeing that neighbors are still willing to offer each other a helping hand.

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