(Photo by Isa Lu)
Topsail High School

Experiencing my first natural disasters

The actual repercussions of natural disasters are really hard to explain to those who’ve never been through one. Before I experienced my first major hurricane, I had no idea as well.

To me, hurricanes used to seem like those monsters from science fiction stories that you find in weather books. As a kid I’ve seen plenty of pictures of cool-looking white spiral storms and the resulting damages on infrastructure. I’ve heard about Hurricane Katrina. I watch the news every day, so I always knew when there was another hurricane about to make landfall. I felt sad reading about people who lost their homes or had died. But I wasn’t able to feel the anxiety, the fear, and the panic that came along. I wasn’t scared about something falling on me. I wasn’t worried about losing everything.

These emotional feelings aren’t always expressed on the news. And it’s near impossible for someone else on the other side of the country who does not know what you’re really going through to fully experience the distress you might be enduring. They’ll probably feel a little sorry, but as long as it doesn’t affect them directly, they go on with their lives. That was me before I went through a hurricane myself.

Now I completely understand what it’s like to be a natural disaster survivor after witnessing the destructiveness of Hurricane Florence and Michael. I personally know many people who have suffered a lot of damage from hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. Many of my friends are currently displaced and have to worry about college applications at the same time. I know many school systems and businesses have been closed for weeks. I’m worried too. Times like these I wonder about the purpose of these life-destroying phenomena — why?

If anything, I’ve learned to be more thankful for those peaceful moments in life. I think the continued possibility of something unpredictable destroying everything really forces you to appreciate the present even more. Natural disasters serve as a constant reminder that we are not always in control, and we have to accept that and move on.