It took Caroline Wright three canceled flights before she could reunite with her 8-month-old puppy, Blair, on Wednesday.
Wright, a UF biochemistry senior, flew to Colorado for a pre-planned vacation on Friday, coincidentally escaping Hurricane Irma as it battered Florida. But like many others, the 20-year-old was forced to adjust her plans to the storm.
Because of Hurricane Irma, UF canceled classes Friday through Wednesday. However, the university is not planning to alter its academic calendar to make up for the days missed, UF spokesperson Janine Sikes wrote in an email.
“Because of the short time UF was out, the administration believes students will be able to catch up on the coursework,” Sikes said. “Unlike some schools, which are expected to be out eight or more days.”
When Wright went to Estes Park, Colorado, she dropped off Blair, her mixed Labrador-pit bull puppy, at Shores Animal Hospital in Gainesville. She initially planned to pick her up Sunday.
After the airline canceled her original flight, as well as the one she booked for the Monday after that, she bought a ticket for Tuesday. However, the airline also canceled the Tuesday flight— right as Wright was about to board the plane.
“It was super stressful,” Wright said. “I was stranded in a place wondering if I was ever going back home. I definitely underestimated the storm.”
Wright said she spent Tuesday night at the Denver International Airport and flew to Orlando on Wednesday. She then took a bus to Gainesville and finally picked up Blair, three days later than scheduled.
Although she’s glad she got a few extra days off, Wright said she’s worried about catching up with her class work. She said all of her professors sent out emails during the days the hurricane hit, reminding students about shifting due dates.
“They were very strict,” she said. “They were emailing us about office hours. I think they didn’t realize some of us weren’t back yet.”
Christopher Smith, a UF assistant professor of Japanese, said he had to cancel some “less crucial or interesting” readings and push some of the shorter readings together on the same day for his classes to make up for the days missed.
Smith teaches both Introduction to Japanese Culture and Readings in Japanese Literature on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“It is hard to miss a whole week of class,” Smith said. “But you just have to be flexible. You can’t complain about mother nature.”
He said he advised students to go over the readings if they were sitting in their houses without power.
“Overall I think students will still get everything out of the class they would have if Irma had not struck,” Smith said.