In Sandy’s Wake: Lessons for College Students and Their Parents

Article posted on Saturday, November, 3rd, 2012 at 3:59 pm by Dr. Nancy Berk   (No comments)
Photo credit: Hunter Berk

Manhattan's Dangling Crane (photo courtesy of Hunter Berk)

When my sons chose New York University as their college destination, their father and I recognized the need to discuss safety, emergency planning and even evacuation. September 11th saw to that, as did Katrina and other campus tragedies over the years that no one saw coming. This week, we lived to see the importance of those parental lectures, but we also found that preparation, at the family level, needs to be better — a lot better. Had the devastation in lower Manhattan been worse, or had forces not aligned, my story might be different.

When Sandy hit, it left my Brooklyn-dwelling older son stranded in Florida, which was warm, breezy and safe. That gave me more energy to focus on child #2 who was smack in the middle of lower Manhattan in a high-rise dorm that quickly lost power and water. When he phoned and said, “It’s out. The power just went out,” it was like a punch in the stomach. Now I know it was because we were losing parental power and contact and I wondered if I’d done enough. In retrospect, there was much more we all could have done.

My family is one of the fortunate ones, but it is my hope that sharing our lessons will help college students and their families maximize safety in the face of any disaster.  Read more in my blog for The Huffington Post.

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