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When the Storm Hits

Ashley S. Torkornoo

mount st. mary's university campus

I am Ashley S. Torkornoo, a senior at the Mount, and this is my view. I am a communications major with a concentration in journalism and minoring in business. I hold a lot of leadership positions on campus including Vice President of the African Student Association and Community Service Chair of NSLS. I am also a writer for the Mountain Echo and a member of the Mount’s dance team.

On September 1st hurricane Ida hit the East Coast. This caused severe flooding in northern Maryland and at our mountain home. Students who were on campus that day can recall heavy rain quickly turning into flash flooding. By 4 pm we were under look down for an uncertain amount of time. I was at work, lucky on high ground. And I was able to leave work and get back to my dorm safely.

In my three years at the Mount, I have never seen flooding so severe and no one seemed to be prepared for it. The days prior the rain was also heavy and unexpected. Like many students, I forgot my umbrella and was forced to wait in the library until the rain died down. As I looked out the library window I watched as many students strutted across the quad in the pouring rain, unprepared. From that moment I began to wonder, are any of us are prepared for the unforeseeable? If any of us are prepared for life’s storm?

The Mount can become a bubble from the outside world when you get caught up in your coursework and club activities. It is easy to forget about the outside world and be oblivious of a storm coming our way. When that storm hits, if it is a family death, hitting a financial crisis, or not having plans post-graduation; has the Mount prepared us for the storm?

At The Mount, we focus on living a life of significance. But what are the tools given to us to make the vision a reality? Where is our umbrella when the storm hits? The first course we take at the Mount is a freshman symposium course. Many people criticize the course and say it lacks purpose. But I want to challenge that thought. Symposium was a gateway into looking at the world from a different angle. A chance for us to begin to question our humanity. A chance for us to stop and think, something we rarely do. In Symposium we began to deconstruct what makes us human and what is the value of community. If we go about our lives without questioning systems and their purpose, how can we begin to learn about them and better prepare ourselves to overcome adversity? The freshman symposium was the first step to preparing for the storm if you allowed it to be. So I challenge all of us, including myself to reflect on what we learned in that course that has better prepared us for the storms of life.

Ashley S. Torkornoo