Atlantic hurricane season doesn't always disturb USC's Columbia campus, but hurricanes Florence and Dorian both shook up the schedule. Students spent time catching up, fooling around and paradoxically enjoying the hurricanes.
Overall, USC seniors said they remembered the experience as a time of bonding and relaxation.
Hurricane Florence hit campus in 2018 and Hurricane Dorian hit in 2019. Though the storms caused damage in other parts of the world, USC escaped mostly unharmed. Students got a week off of classes when Florence hit and a half a week off for Dorian. Students either went home or hunkered down in Columbia.
Many students native to South Carolina were used to this — especially those students from the Lowcountry — and just went about their day. However, students from out of state and areas that are not usually affected by hurricanes were more scared, fourth-year biology student Chloe Weyer said.
Some students spent their time catching up on schoolwork, but at the Honors Residence, some students experienced a once-in-a-lifetime slip and slide.
Weyer said she heard a student from the third floor of the dormitory planned on creating the slip-and-slide in the hallway.
"But we were like, maybe we shouldn't do that. So we brought it outside, and it was kind of drizzling anyway, so it ended up just being perfect and a lot of fun," Weyer said. "Just a soapy mess — you can all get to like bond over that."
For some students, the "hurrication" was a way to reform the familial bonds weakened by the long distance. Usually, freshmen wait until Thanksgiving break to go home for a longer period of time.
"It was very soon into school. And so I really had not — I was a pretty homesick freshman at the time," Emily Ariail, a fourth-year biomedical engineering student, said. "So then I just went home, immediately, for the whole week, and I hung out with my friends from high school."
As expected, some students also spent their time elsewhere — at parties or out exploring campus while under a natural phenomenon, Ariail said.
For some students, the hurrication had a big impact on their college experience but for others, it was just the drop in the bucket of unusual occurrences that took place throughout their four years at USC.
"I remember enough of the details about it, but I don't have that really stuck in my head," Katrina Wolgemuth, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, said. "And truthfully, now I think with COVID happening, that is just like a small little blip that happened because I kind of think of a pre-COVID and a post-COVID — just because that's essentially how my college experience has been broken down into."
Overall, the consensus is that hurrication was a memorable experience for most seniors since many enjoyed their time off and remember it fondly as an important part of their college experience.
"I think that USC was probably like, 'Oh my gosh, they had to deal with the detrimental effects of a hurricane,' and then we're all like, 'Damn, that's the best time of my life — hurrication.' Like I'm sure #hurrication was trending on Twitter back then," Ariail said.