Self-care and survivors’ guilt: coping after Hurricane Ian
Even so recently after Hurricane Ian, students are still finding time and space on campus to continue to bond and relax as best they can in these stressful circumstances. Photo taken by Sophia Brown

Self-care and survivors’ guilt: coping after Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian has affected the lives of many Florida residents over the course of the last few weeks. Whether that be physical damage or emotional, it is vital to seek support. Even for individuals who weren’t personally affected by this disaster, it takes a toll. For those who feel guilt surrounding the Hurricane Ian situation, it is expected and just to have these feelings. Survivors’ guilt is real and combating these overwhelming feelings is a painful process. From New College students to valiant first responders and journalists, everyone has felt the impact.

Helplessness is a common symptom of natural disasters. Feeling like there is nothing you can do will consume you during your healing process. However, Al Tompkins, revered journalist,  provides a whole new perspective surrounding the hurricane and its aftermath. A recent article written by Tompkins for Poynter on Sept. 30 focuses on survivors’ guilt and hurricane recovery and includes strategies to cope with Ian’s repercussions: limiting media intake, acting constructively, being a donor and keeping in touch with those affected. 

“Gratitude is a huge stress reliever,” Tompkins wrote. “A number of university studies show an association between gratitude and happiness.” 

The importance of kindness in these situations is crucial for New College students. As young college students, we may feel like we have limited resources to make changes. However, it is important to recommend campus resources such as the Counseling & Wellness Center (CWC) which has a 24-hour helpline and the Student Success Center (SSC). Recommending professionals is a positive way to make a difference for your peers. Simply cleaning up around campus or checking up on friends is all you need to make a difference. 

President Patricia Okker released an inspiring statement on Oct. 4 with the opening questions,  “What do you need? How can we help?” Okker emphasized the importance of flexibility during this time and encouraged students to ask questions about campus safety. 

“We will work with students individually if you are not yet ready or able to return to campus,” Okker wrote. “Students who wish to work out individual plans for this week (or even beyond) should contact their faculty advisors and/or Provost Sherman.”

 It is important to keep checking the news and student email for further communications regarding the impact of Hurricane Ian. Understand that taking care of yourself and your loved ones is the priority.

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