Ten days ago as we opened the academic year at colloquy the provost said, “This is going to be a great year!” Moments later he added, “we know things will happen…” I’m not sure that when he said that he was thinking about an earthquake and a hurricane, but as it happens, that’s how our school year opened.
It’s not unusual for something big to happen early in the school year. The earthquake was a surprise, though a relatively benign one on campus. But we do live in an area where hurricanes are, if not common, then certainly not unknown — in the last 10 years we’ve had the beginning of school interrupted by at four storms, maybe five. Only one required the campus to shut down, but when students’ lives are disrupted — by anxiety about family members, electrical outages at off-campus apartments, trees blocking the roads, or floods in their neighborhoods, just because the campus is open doesn’t mean students are prepared.
Or, for that matter, the faculty. My power went out Saturday night — after I’d made dinner and finished up the laundry, which was pretty considerate of it. But it’s still out, and it looks like it will be out all week. I usually do quite a bit of my prep work at home — and I can still do some of it there, but anything requiring internet is going to be tough. And, frankly, my eyesight’s not what it used to be, so reading by candlelight is a lot less romantic than it might seem.
I actually think the provost’s right — it will be a great year. I’m excited about my classes, and about the first-year seminar courses that our students are taking this year. I see some pretty interesting things on the horizon that I’m glad to be involved with. I’m even enjoying some of the enforced downtime that the power outage has created. The three of us at home played cards by candlelight last night and my son managed to win five games of crazy eights in a row before we called it quits. And of course I am grateful not to have lost anything but some frozen food (so far) in this hurricane. I have only first-world problems, really.
Still, I hope the power comes back on soon. There are only so many games of cards we can play!