A few weeks ago, North Carolina got hit by hurricane-turned-tropical storm Florence. The days leading up to its arrival were chaos. Stores ran out of cases of water, gas stations were packed, and colleges were evacuated. News of the storm ran on every big TV station. The nation was preparing for what was called the storm of a lifetime. Although I am not on the coast, I found myself in the storm's path.
My family, new to North Carolina from New York, started getting the house ready for heavy winds and extreme rain. There was a slight panic in our actions, but we felt ready. It wasn't until I had evacuated my school and helped secure the house that I realized only one of my friends had reached out to me and asked if I was safe.
I recalled how it felt on campus when we were warned of the evacuation. There was a great sense of community between my classmates. People I had never even spoken to asked me about my plans, and I did the same. It made me feel better knowing my classmates were going somewhere safe. Professors made sure to wish us well, and my mother informed me that my school's Facebook page for parents was buzzing with plans. People that didn't even know each other were informing one another of their children's whereabouts. If anyone had available space, it was offered to those who needed it.
I sat there staring at my phone wondering where that sense of community was within my own circle. As the day went on, I heard from two more people, one being someone I hadn't been friends with in years.
As the days past and the news showed the catastrophic damage Florence had caused, I still heard nothing. The storm took a turn and managed to pass my city, leaving behind a few fallen branches and some flooding, but my annoyance in the situation was still raging.
The storm has passed, but my confusion still remains. I think back to the times I reached out, eager to know if a friend was okay during a bad time. It takes only a few seconds to pick up a phone and check on someone, and I highly advise everyone to check up on those who are hit with natural disasters. Even though a call or a text won't protect someone from the storm, it's a good way to let them know they're being thought of and that they're cared for. This was a situation that demanded genuine concern, and it's a shame that none was given by those who I thought would be the first on the line.