New students: Do not worry about resetting after Hurricane Dorian


Jose Luis Magana / AFP

In preparation for the Hurricane Dorian a boat sits at the top a sand dune as Hurricane Dorian make it’s way to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina on September 3, 2019.

Darius Melton, Opinion Editor

For the second year in a row, fall semester at UNC Wilmington has been derailed by a hurricane. The shakeout was a bit better this time – one week off is nothing compared to a full month – but readjusting to campus life can be hard regardless of the time off.

If you are a freshmen, transfer or international student, there are some complications at play outside of simply pushing a week of schoolwork back. Now you have to relearn the campus, potentially reintroduce yourself to friends and acquaintances and generally get back into your groove.

I was there last year. As a transfer student who had only been on campus for a few weeks, that month off after Hurricane Florence was brutal on my social life. I had just met a group of fellow transfer students the week before Florence hit, and while we all made plans to meet up regularly, four weeks off can do a number on someone’s memory. There is one guy from that group that I still have not seen since, and it has been a year now.

So, yes, an unplanned “vacation” – as some are wont to call it – can definitely razzle a person. But I am here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. Here are three quick tips on how to make this semester still feel pretty normal going forward.

First: Get people’s contact information. This might sound easy, but I can hardly count the number of times I spoke to a stranger for hours, made a great friend and never saw them again. I am pretty old-school myself, so I personally spring for phone numbers and Facebook friend requests, but if you are a bit “hipper” than I am, take the initiative to figure out your acquaintances’ Instagram or Snapchat usernames. This also helps you remember people’s names, and it always feels so nice when you have not seen someone in a while but they still have your name in mind.

Second: Do not think about the work. Just do it. Whether it is my friends, roommates or classmates, I have heard plenty people talking about how worried they are about their lessons getting smooshed together after that week off. It might sound too dismissive, but you really do just have to ignore how scary it is and mindlessly do the work. This is just general life advice, too. Once the work is done, you have nothing to worry about anymore. Every second you spend worrying is a second where your homework gets more powerful and overwhelming. Nip that whole deal in the bud as soon as possible.

Third: Remember, your teachers are dealing with the same thing. A week off from school is making your professors panic just as much as – if not more than – the rest of us. We are all in this together, so if you get to the point where you really do need more time to process things, there is really no better time to shoot for sympathy with your teachers. Perhaps you get a teacher who is so stressed that they do not care about your feelings – in which case, I am very sorry – but it is much more likely that your professor is going to be pretty humane.

All-in-all, it was just one week off, so there really is not much to stress about. However, if this situation did take something out of you, I hope this article does something to help you get by!