I've always been told that college is about challenging yourself and preparing for the -- drum roll, please -- "real world." Although my first few years of college may have been an adjustment in terms of learning how to live with other people and cook dinner without setting off the fire alarm, I never felt like I was in danger nor considered that I might have to deal with a compromising situation on my own. Within the first month of my senior year, I have experienced three natural disasters: an earthquake, a hurricane and a flood.
At 4:00 this morning, I heard emergency sirens outside my window. Half asleep, I rolled over and hoped the noise would go away. Four hours later, I was woken from my slumber by a knocking on my door. One of my housemates came bearing the good news: classes were cancelled. At first, I wasn't sure if I believed her (Bucknell never cancels school) but my instinctual reaction was fear. I shouldn't have ignored those emergency sirens. What if the river had crested overnight and I would have to pack up all my belongings and move? I knew the situation was serious when I checked my email to find that the university was indeed closed for the third time in history.
When you put a bunch of college kids together, regardless of how serious the situation may be, they will find a way to make a celebration out of it. Students responded in shock and excitement, flooding (no pun intended) the streets to check out the water damage, take pictures of the overflowing Susquehanna River and, naturally, go tubing down the street. Although many of my friends were forced to evacuate their homes or had to spend the day recovering thousands of dollars worth of stereo equipment, they kept a positive attitude and turned their homelessness into a slumber party with their best friends.
It's in tough situations, like dealing with the aftermath of a flood, that I feel lucky to be a part of such a tight-knit community. I was amazed at the camaraderie evident amongst the students and faculty. Throughout the day, we received emails from faculty concerned about our safety and updating us with emergency plans. After forcing students to evacuate many of the dorms, the university accommodated them by opening up buildings on campus for shelter. Students with houses that survived the flood opened them up to their friends and other students volunteered to help direct traffic or fill sand bags.
Although this day was exhausting for many of us, it helped me recognize how much I value my support system. I have undoubtedly become a more independent person at college, but thankfully I have never had to deal with a threatening situation completely on my own. As long as I surround myself with a great support system like the one I have found at Bucknell, I can continue to face dangers without fear that I am alone wherever I may end up in the "real world."
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