In times of uncertainty and turmoil, it’s important to look at how the recent storms have been affecting LSMSA students.
By Kaitlyn Kahn (Zachary, Class of ’21)
On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. Laura was one of the strongest storms to ever hit Louisiana, reaching up to 150 mph winds. On Sept. 21, tragedy struck again. Tropical Storm Beta made landfall in East Texas, not far from the Louisiana border, resulting once more in widespread flooding and destruction. In late October, with less than a month remaining in the hurricane season, Tropical Storm Zeta strengthened to a hurricane before making landfall on the Gulf Coast, again leaving a trail of wind and rain across parts of Louisiana.
LSMSA students across the state felt the effects, from thrashing winds, to torrential rains, to wee-long academic breaks resulting from the storms.
Many students saw destruction first hand, like Allison J. From Lake Charles, who said, “Seeing my town basically destroyed has been rough; whenever I drive around town I see damage everywhere. My family and I were fortunate to not have substantial damage to our house but I know that many people cannot say the same and that’s heartbreaking.”
Beyond the devastation the storms left behind, many students have been displaced to environments not conducive for work or a sound state of mind. LSMSA senior Treyauna P. Of Lake Charles shared that she had to stay with a friend after her home was totaled by Hurricane Laura, causing her increased stress and anxiety and a loss of motivation.
For other students, such as Juliana A. Of Thibodeaux, the storms haven’t left physical damage, but have instead had a more emotional impact as school assignments fell behind die to electrical outages, wifi connectivity and other challenges. The storms, combined with school obligations and Coronavirus took a great toll on students’ motivation and psyche.
“Emails are very overwhelming,” said Juliana A. “I tend to search for emails concerning my classes and I receive a lot of emails…that are very unnecessary.”
One of the most important things students at LSMSA share is a sense of community. Having friends and trusted adults who reach out can truly help those who are feeling lost in these unprecedented times. LSMSA students who were polled suggested several ways to improve quality of life during these stressful times, including participating in food and clothing drives, helping neighbors clean up debris, volunteering in safe settings, and simply reaching out to check on others and make sure they’re alright emotionally.
As we approach the end of this storm season, be sure to check on fellow students as well as Louisiana residents. It can make the difference.