Addressing Uncertainty In The Wake Of Disaster At Jacksonville State University
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Addressing Uncertainty In The Wake Of Disaster At Jacksonville State University

"While a lot of things are up in the air, our commitment and responsibilities to one another are not."

Addressing Uncertainty In The Wake Of Disaster At Jacksonville State University
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Typically I'll write an article about something fun with food, or something about my life at JSU.

This week is different.

I, like so many other of my fellow Gamecocks, started spring break thinking about what I would get done and would do to relax, but that quickly changed just a few days in. Monday night, I watched from home as our local news station said, "Uhh... if you have any kids at JSU, you may want to call and make sure they're OK..."

I quickly started messaging those I knew were still on campus as they braced for an EF-3 tornado heading their way. Within minutes, we started to get reports of the damage, but, fortunately, there were no fatalities. Nevertheless, our second home became a "war zone" and there were suddenly a lot of uncertainties.

Some of my favorite things at JSU I may not get to see for a long time. I just talked in my last article about one of my favorite parts of JSU — those beautiful, magical trees — and over the past two days of religiously checking in to see the damage, all I see are snapped twigs. Obviously, the main thing is the miracle that — of all the weeks to have JSU be the epicenter of tornado damage in Alabama — it was while we were on spring break. No fatalities. Minimal injuries.

Even still, rumors abound and we all have so many questions. What about graduation? Will we take classes online? Where will the residents in the damaged freshman dorms stay? Will those off-campus ever get their things back? Will we actually start classes April 2? Will we have to take classes into the summer? When will I see my friends again? What about other plans? Due dates? Volunteer opportunities to help?

By the time you read this, we may have some of these answers, but some, we may not. Although we're thankful that we are all alive, tensions are high as there is a lot of uncertainty. That is what may make us the most uncomfortable — not knowing whether things will get better, because they will with time, but perhaps when.

Disasters like this often bring out the best in us and unify us. You can see it in the way one by one each Gamecock changes their profile picture, shares information, or offers a helping hand. You can see it in the response from emergency services all over the state reaching out to help.

However, that when will vary. Glass can be picked up in a day, but buildings may take longer, a sense of security longer still, and that characteristic JSU look? It may not be the same until our children head off to school. However, these moments really tend to bring us to our knees and make us realize that sometimes in life, we have to let go of our precious deadlines, ability to plan, and even degree of control.

College students have a lot of uncertainty even without disasters, but the JSU community is really having to let go of the reins here, trust God, and be patient as those who are looking out for our safety and wellbeing are doing their hardest to make the best decisions in the midst of their own state of not knowing.

So, in the midst of the uncertainty, keep praying, accept the uncertainty, and try to appreciate what we do still have, especially what's most important — lives. I understand that it is a lot easier for me to say than others. I haven't lost a home or my belongings. My uncertainty pales in comparison to that of others. If it's harder for you to let go of that uncertainty right now, that's OK. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this time and do not hesitate to reach out for anything that might help — from a place to stay to clothes to anything.

We're a JSU family, and while a lot of things are up in the air, our commitment and responsibilities to one another are not.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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