Hurricane Sandy is the first disaster I can remember affecting people near me. Usually natural disasters hit far away, or at least far enough for me not to actually be able to realize the devastation They hit places I've never seen before, places where I can't grasp how different they look after the destruction.
This time, it hit in an entirely different way. Both houses next to mine, and ones I'd been to two hours away at the Jersey Shore. I was lucky enough to have my own house spared. We lost power for a day and internet/ cable for the next two, but that makes me one of the lucky ones. For a full day after the storm there was no way to get past my development; every single street (I tried fix) was blocked by a tree in one way or another.
I complained about these things on my phone, which I charged using my car charger, to my friends and to twitter, all of which everyone seemed to be able to access. However, this is one instance where twitter allowed me to get a better perspective on things-- while I tweeted about being bored of watching television at the end of our unexpected week long break, I read about people still not having power which, at this point, meant they had no food left in their houses. My best friend's house one mile down the road didn't have power for a full two weeks, and they were eating meals of whatever canned goods or prepackaged foods they could find because grocery stores were still low in stock. A week after I returned to school a family that mine is close to had to come to our house to shower and do their laundry.
Those too were just minor issues compared to the utter devastation going on in New York and at the Jersey Shore. Hurricane Sandy has wreaked havoc like I've never seen or truly been able to feel before. Though it didn't affect my house personally, the fact that people down the street were in dire situations made me realize how lucky I was. It could have been me at any point. It could have been anyone, and I think that's something Sandy helped people to understand. We all need to pitch in and do our part to help fix the destruction it has left, because anyone's life could have been changed by this disaster.
#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more information you can email Prof. Littau at firstname.lastname@example.org.