Lessons Learned From Hurricane Sandy

Devastation is the word of the week. According to the dictionary, the word means to overwhelm, to confound, to stun, and that is exactly how much of the east coast felt when Hurricane Sandy made land fall last week. Beach houses, homes, boardwalks, city streets, subway tunnels and cars are just a few of our prized possessions that got ruined by this monstrosity of a storm. My favorite vacation spot is on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. Seeing pictures of my favorite restaurants, the docks and the quaint cobble stone streets flooded hit home harder than I thought. I cannot even imagine the heartbreak and loss of those who permanently reside in beach towns or New York City. 



I’m sure many of you have seen the pictures, heard the news stories and have been frantically trying to call family and friends who were directly affected by this storm. It is frightening to think that Mother Nature can have this big of an impact in a world where we normally feel so secure. However, we must also put this into perspective. Hurricane Sandy came roaring onto the Jersey Coast as a Category 1 hurricane and then died down to a tropical storm. If we remember Hurricane Katrina, it was a Category 4 storm. In one way, the east coast can consider themselves lucky. In any event, it is still scary when we are here on campus and our family and friends’ lives are in serious danger. So what do we do?

The best thing to do is stay calm and keep yourself busy. Don’t stress yourself out over things that you cannot control. In the end none of us know what is coming next, so take it day by day. Staying in one night with your girlfriends and having a few glasses of wine could never hurt anyone. Going to South Side and buying yourself a new shirt could also bring some light to the week. Or during the days, get a head start on upcoming assignments. You would be surprised how much work is actually comprised in one semester. If you think you couldn’t get ahead on something, you probably could. Do not turn the news on because, as you probably already know, the coverage is everywhere and on every channel. This will only put your head in a bad place. Seeing images, hearing the voices of newscasters being overly dramatic and flashes of commercials coming in and out would make anyone’s mind spin. Keeping yourself busy will also make time pass quicker. As time passes the mess that Hurricane Sandy brought with her is slowly but surely getting cleaned up.

Talking on the phone with family and friends may also help. Hearing someone’s voice that you are constantly worried about is always soothing. Even though my family was not in New Jersey or New York when the storm hit, they still got it pretty bad in Connecticut. No power, trees down, and tons of rain that flooded part of the basement. Because my house is nowhere near the shore, our problems were not as extreme. However, it is still worrisome. I find that checking in with family and friends not only puts you in a place of comfort but also lets those at home know you are thinking of them. Because face it, we are still college kids. The only thing that happened in Pittsburgh was rain and for this city, that is pretty normal.

So, as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy reins upon us all, directly or indirectly, we should all try to go on living our lives as we have been. Call family, talk to friends, keep busy and keep calm. Weather is one of the obstacles in life and we have hit one the past week. The loss of property, valuables and material possessions can always be replaced. Your family and friends cannot. Therefore, their safety is really the only thing we have to be worried about. Go out with your friends on the weekend, get your schoolwork done, and through it all keep calm and carry on.