Hurricanes teach us preparedness and appreciation

In the song “Hurricane” from the Broadway play “Hamilton,” Alexander Hamilton sang, “In the eye of the hurricane there is quiet; for a moment, just a yellow sky.”

The song sends a message of preparedness and determination. Although the song leads into part of the demise of Hamilton’s respected character, legacy and work ethic after an affair, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics put responsibility in Hamilton’s hands.

Though there may be quiet in the middle of a semester or for months of a hurricane season, being ready to tackle a torrential downpour of assignments or a deluge of wind, rain or tornadoes is key.

For a Summer semester, it can be easy to get caught up in sunny adventures. There’s Lake Wauburg or a short drive down to the springs or theme parks. Other students get into a cycle of nights in Midtown and put off assignments.

Between schoolwork and fun, it can be easy to forget the threat of hurricanes, even in “Rainesville.”

In both scenarios — school and weather — preparedness and responsibility are key.

College itself is like a storm of deadlines. Keeping a schedule, maintaining healthy habits and watching the calendar and news for impending assignments and extracurricular duties is essential. Be sure to have a Blue Book on hand, and be careful to watch your stock of paper, pens and No. 2 pencils.

The same goes for hurricanes. Floridians can be quick to belittle hurricanes and jump at the chance to get a day off from school or have a hurricane party.

However, these situations can be dire and mean more than just missing a scheduled football game.

During Hurricane Irma, Gainesville faced flooding, downed trees, gas shortages and destroyed homes. On campus, historic trees were lost and UF agricultural researchers lost months or years of research across the state.

There were also the deaths of many in ill-prepared nursing facilities.

Beyond Florida, Hurricanes Harvey and Maria caused destruction that is still being dealt with today amid a new active season.

Already, the second named storm of 2018, Hurricane Bud, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Having at least a small stock of supplies in your dorm or other living space is important. Ready.gov/hurricanes outlines a long list of things you can do to prepare for a storm.

But, the upsides of hurricanes, both figuratively and literally, is that they teach us the importance of preparation and appreciation. You can appreciate your education and activities and the knowledge they give you. And you can appreciate blue skies, loved ones, air conditioning, electricity and living in a developed state where resources are available.

Do your assignments and prep your hurricane kits. Don’t wait for it to be too late.

Sophie Feinberg is a UF journalism junior. Her column comes out Tuesday and Thursday.