3 Thoughts I Immediately Had Once My Apartment Was Destroyed By A Tornado

3 Thoughts I Immediately Had Once My Apartment Was Destroyed By A Tornado

I am so proud to say I am a Gamecock, and we are #JSUStrong.
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As we all know in Jacksonville, Alabama, the F-3 tornado ravaged our town on the evening of March 19th. It was heart-wrenching getting calls from friends who were in their bathtubs crying while they heard the tornado spin as fast as a train, harming their ears.

They questioned whether the ceiling of the third floor of their apartment would hold to save their life, or if it would collapse by the wind, rain, and hail. I was thankful enough to have met a girl in the Navy Delayed Entry Program just days before, who sent me her tickets to see a concert in Atlanta the night of the devastation. It was a blessing in disguise or was until I saw after footage that night, and received numerous phone-tree calls.

During the storm, three thoughts went through my head:

1. Is my cat ok?

She had been there by herself since Friday, so three days already, and thanks to roadblocks, I would have to wait for another three. Six days without my pet, my baby, my familiar. I read posts for over a week of how people had pets locked away in their apartments and how they were denied entry to retrieve their pet.

Within that time, rescuers were contacting owners about pets found dead. DEAD. I know many people say the Jacksonville community is lucky for not having any casualties, but to many people, pets are family. They are living beings, they died every day due to people violating laws to keep owners out.

2. What will I do for a place to live?

I was receiving photos and calls about my friends completely losing their apartments and cars in the storm. I was told by my friends their accounts of being in their bathrooms tornado overhead, ceiling crashing, and then they would emerge from the rubble to outrun the second and third tornadoes.

Some friends after the tornadoes passed were pulling trapped neighbors from their apartments. Some were having to sit at the JPD watching as a guy is being told his arm will have to be amputated. I feel selfish now because all I could think of is wondering if for some reason my own apartment was gone if my cats were going to be a fluffy splat on the wall.

There was so much shock, I could not help but keep my mind on one thing: my cats at home. Yet, I believed every second of my worrying that God had a reason, and I guess my roommate was meant to have a sunroof.

3. What will this mean for classes?

This was a heavy question even before the tornado. Being a fourth-year student, looking at having to take extra semesters to finish my double major, I was already flummoxed about weighing finishing classes on limited funds, or joining the Navy. I have since chosen the Navy.

Many others have decided to handle the stress of classes and loss of school materials by moving back home and ditching their degrees altogether. Its a matter of how can a student ranging primarily ages 18-22, repurchase all school materials, dorm/apartment stuff to live and mentally manage finishing classes?

I mean, how can we have time to morn and get over the shock of some horrible circumstances caused by mother nature in such a short time and be able to mentally process coursework. Some of us do not even have a place to live, there is a four-page long wait list of people unable to find homes.

As the night seemed to never end, the sun rose to shine on a horrifying reality that I am not sure many can describe. Jacksonville State University was a campus I fell in love with because it was a spread-out small town. Therefore, I never felt swallowed like at Auburn and University of Alabama.

What is interesting is that morning, when the sun rose on our little town, everyone was already up on their feet working to make the town whole again. It is obvious we will never be the same, but that is not a bad thing. It means we will come back stronger and better than ever.

The campus buildings were already in bad shape, as many students had expressed concerns previously to the President and others in the last four years. In a weird way, maybe this causes the University to fix their money issues and realign their priorities to align with that of the student's needs. Maybe this is meant to remind us to not take things for granted, but at the end of the day, I am so proud to say I am a Gamecock, and we are #JSUStrong.

Cover Image Credit: JSU

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Rainy Days Are Absolutely AWFUL, Don't @ Me

A gloomy day is also a doomed day.

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I am going to lose quite a few friendships after this article is published, but this needs to be said: rainy days suck! I'd rather it be snowing than raining any day.

During rainy days, I literally have no motivation to do anything. It's so dark and gloomy out, and everyone just feels — gray. How do you expect me to get work done if the weather is so bad? Getting up for class daily is already hard enough but on rainy days it's especially difficult and nearly impossible. Every rainy day should be dubbed as days that classes are canceled.

Also, can we talk about how it ruins HAIR? Like, I could have my hair straightened and the moment any part of my head comes in contact with a water droplet, it's over. All of the effort and work that I put into my thick hair is gone, all because of the weather. The frizz is real and I look like I got electrocuted by the time I reach my destination. Humidity plays a huge factor too. The rain could pause but if I walk outside all done up, you best believe my hair will poof up due to the humidity lingering in the air.

When I'm wearing my glasses and it starts pouring, it's so uncomfortable. I hate it when raindrops fill up my glasses and then I am in no control of the fact that I can't see for a second. With the drivers on our campus, that's NOT safe. Ugh, I hate it.

Okay, I am a sucker for keeping my shoes clean, I freaking love my sneakers. If there is unexpected rain and I don't have my rain boots on, I literally will refuse to leave the building until the rain stops or I will Uber everywhere. And even when I am wearing rain boots, they are so uncomfy and walking in them around campus sucks. They don't look cute with any outfit either (at least mine don't). Walking in the rain on campus in general sucks, whether you have an umbrella or raincoat. There are too many people and someone's bound to get poked in the eye by an umbrella.

Rainy days take a TOLL on my mood, too.

Like, I feel just as sad as the weather looks for no apparent reason and start having really dark thoughts about life and my future, or I go to sleep and end up sleeping the entire day. I don't even want to leave my bed. I have things to do and places to be every single day and rainy days will ruin my week whenever they come along.

Rainy days are the literal worst and if you agree, please let me know so we can bond over this.

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