by David High
Normal parts of life such as finishing schoolwork and finding Wi-Fi are difficult in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, according to college students living near the Gulf.
“Recovery is slow going and catching up on an entire week’s worth of work while also still doing this week’s work has been pretty challenging,” Kenna Wittkop, a University of South Alabama student, said.
Hurricane Sally, a category two hurricane, hit land in Alabama on Sep. 16 and caused tremendous damage and flooding in various areas, according to the Associated Press.
“Our building itself was undamaged, but there was a lot of tree damage and flooding.” Wittkop said. Photo by NASA / Public Domain
Wittkop said her apartment building was built in the seventies and is made completely out of cinderblock. Wittkop lives in the Beta apartments on campus at the University of South Alabama. She and her roommate drove to Birmingham to stay with her aunt and uncle when it became clear that the storm was worse than projected.
“The drive up was pretty scary,” Wittkop said. “The winds were terrible, and the rain was so heavy I could only see a little.”
The heavy winds and rain produced by Hurricane Sally caused major power outages across the South making it even more difficult for students to participate in schoolwork.
“Professors are trying to be understanding but we have a shorter semester due to COVID-19 and we just added another time crunch to an already modified schedule.” Wittkop said.
Altera Jemison, a Grantham University student, also had trouble completing and submitting her assignments while still managing to keep her family safe during the storm. All of Jemison’s work is submitted virtually because she is a resident of Mobile but attends a university that is located in Kentucky.
“I couldn’t manage any of my schoolwork without power and Wi-Fi,” Jemison said. “I had to connect my laptop to my phones Wi-Fi to get some of my work turned in.
Students were faced with physical and mental challenges during Sally’s run through the Gulf. Not only did they deal with concerns for their safety but not having electricity to complete the assignments added additional stress to the school experience.
“The emotional toll this experience brought was quite draining because I was scared for my family and I also did not want to fall behind on my work,” Jemison said.
Jemison said she would use her car charger to get battery on her phone since she was using her data and phone Wi-Fi to complete her work.
“Once it was safe to drive and travel again, I gathered my family and we headed to Birmingham to stay with my sister because I was still out of power and my schoolwork work still had to be completed,” Jemison said.
William Stanford, a University of Mobile student, did not receive too much damage in West Mobile, but still dealt with the power outage.
“School has been mostly online due to COVID anyways, so it was not hard to continue school,” Stanford said. “The most challenging part was when the power went out making it impossible to do any work during that time.”
Stanford said he was prepared for the storm and any potential harm it may cause.
“I stayed indoors and monitored the weather closely.” Stanford said.
Residents of southern Alabama are still recovering and getting back into the swing of life after Hurricane Sally.
“The area I stay in was not damaged that bad, so it did not need much of a recovery,” Stanford said. “But some of the areas surrounding me are still recovering from the flooding and high-speed winds.”
Edited by Hannah Warren & Ryan Michaels