College evacuation results in time with family, relaxation

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MAGGIE MORE / THE FLAT HAT

The morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, I was walking with my boyfriend, arguing about possible hurricane evacuations. We made a bet: I thought with all the paranoia surrounding the Category 4 hurricane hurtling towards us, school would be evacuated. My boyfriend disagreed — he thought we would have classes off but stay in the ‘Burg. The stakes: $5. About 20 minutes later I was packing my bags, frantically texting friends for a ride home and $5 richer.

When the news of our evacuation came that morning, I was shocked but thrilled. My week was packed full of a macroeconomics quiz, computer science project, government paper and sorority recruitment prep.

Not to mention I was beginning to get a cold. Nothing sounded better than a week in bed and some of my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup.

However, my roommate did not feel the same way. Being from Ohio, she was stressed about finding a way home or, alternatively, finding a place to stay when we were kicked off campus. One quick call to my mom and Claire was joining me in Richmond, Virginia, for what my parents deemed “a hurricane party.”

Unfortunately, our hurricane party was short lived because upon realizing our evacuation was longer than fall break, Claire returned to Ohio to visit her family.

The beginning of my break was spent how I imagine many other students spent their time off: doing absolutely nothing. Most of my days were spent lounging on my couch, marathoning the end of “Bachelor in Paradise” and napping. While I didn’t do anything worthwhile, I felt rejuvenated (and no longer sick!) when I arrived back on campus. When I was productive over break, I prepped meals for when I came back to campus. Some of my cooking highlights include Oreo balls (a childhood favorite), caramel apple cupcakes and barbecue.

I also went grocery shopping to stock my pantry with fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy to replace what I had thrown away before leaving my apartment, worried they would spoil if we lost power. Uncharacteristically, during the latter part of the week, I was productive and got ahead of my school work for the upcoming weeks. Most importantly, the break gave me time to spend with my family and friends. While in my hometown, I was able to reconnect with high school friends who go to University of Richmond.

My siblings were given Friday off from school (despite the hurricane missing Richmond almost entirely), so we had family dinner and game night. I also got to cuddle and play with my dog, who I’ve missed dearly since being back at the College of William and Mary. My stance on the evacuation: it was an unnecessary but nice break from the fast pace of campus life. I’m sure if I was an upperclassman with research deadlines, the evacuation would have felt frustrating.

If I was a freshman from out of state, I can only imagine the stress of trying to coordinate a place to stay before having a stable friend group on campus. However, all of my assignment deadlines were pushed back, and I only live an hour away, so I was lucky to avoid the inconveniences many students experienced. I appreciated this break for the time I got to spend with family and the much-needed relaxation.

Email Sarah Farney at

sefarney@email.wm.edu