Family · Just my Thoughts

College Students, Parents and Weather Disasters

I could do an emergency preparedness post. As a matter of fact, I have one almost done. It is just not what I want, though. I want to talk about the area that I did not think about and spent a good deal of time worrying over as Sandy approached.

I have children, six adult children if you count college students as adults. Two of these children live at home but what I didn’t take into consideration as Sandy approached and I prepared was the other four and their significant others. Were they paying attention? Were they taking steps to prepare for whatever Sandy would bring to their areas?

Two of the grown children live with spouses or significant others and would be on the west side of whatever would come. Most likely they would get rain and maybe some wind but not any damage. The one in the Buffalo area does not live near the waterfront so the huge waves forecast for the Great Lakes would not be an issue for him or for his wife, personally. His job might be a mess because of weather but they should get through the storm okay. The one in Pittsburgh may get nothing but normal October weather. Two down and two to find out about – the two who are in college and I truly believe the majority of college students tend to be totally oblivious to the world outside their realms.

Friday evening, at least one friend was making arrangements to head to Delaware to pick up a college student as the storm started its northern turn. I was still waiting to hear from my students. The oldest college student is only about 80 miles away but in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains here in NY. Higher winds were predicted for the Catskills than for here. He lives off campus. Would he be without power? Was there anything a mother could do to convince a 22 year old to prepare? Probably not since his 22nd birthday was Friday. He was too busy celebrating.

The youngest is on campus in the Hudson Valley. He did, on Sunday, indicate he had made no preparations. He said he had no money to do so. I managed to get money into his account by mid-day on Monday and hope he was fine. The campus never lost power, though there were class cancellations. The area south of him in the Hudson Valley faired far worse.

My point is this. When my kids leave for college, I make it clear I do not need to know their every move. If they are going away for a weekend, fine. Just let me know you are traveling so I know where you are and I will do the same if I travel for a vacation. I failed, with all six, to discuss natural disasters. This is not the first I have had happen with a student away from home. The twins and a daughter were all in the greater Buffalo area during the October 2006 winter storm that dumped over a foot of wet snow on the area. Only one had issues with power but it was cold enough all his food went in the snow.

Make a plan with those in your family that do not live with you. College students will not think that you are worried about them. Monitor their school’s website for class cancellations for your information, not to inform them. Text and be relentless until you feel comfortable they are safe.

How do you keep in touch with your college students?

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