Nontraditional Lessons from the Storm
On Sunday, February 14, The University of Texas community received a notification from President Jay Hartzell announcing a campus closure in light of the coming storm. While many took the warning to heart, others took it easy, assuming this was an overaction to the potential for a light dusting of snow.
By the following morning all of Austin knew it that we were in for something very different. Millions without power, pipes bursting, and thousands losing water by the hour — this was not your usual crisis.
Over the coming days, as UT faculty, staff, and students struggled to stay warm and stay safe, President Hartzell kept the UT community informed about the state of things on campus, directing students to resources, and reminding faculty and staff that their offices — with heat and water — were at their disposal if they could get to campus safely.
As the Friday thaw approached and thoughts started to turn from immediate safety to long-term cleanup, the community knew it still had a way to go to get back to (pandemic) normal. Still, as international business students returned to campus, the Center for Global Business welcomed them back with a special note:
We hope this message finds you safe, warm, and returning to a little bit of normal. We wish we could say catastrophes “never happen” but you know better. So here’s what a savvy student takes away when a crisis happens:
Grit: perseverance for achieving long-term goals. Working strenuously to overcome challenges and maintaining effort and interest over time despite failures and adversities. Think: There were times over this past week when you had to push hard — mentally or physically. What happened? What did you learn about yourself?
Adaptability: the capacity to make appropriate responses to changed or changing situations. In other words, solving problems creatively. Making do with what you have. Finding ways to help, and getting help if you need it. Think: You had to get creative at some point this week to make things happen. What was the issue? How did you get creative?
Resilience: the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands. Think: This week has been really, really hard for a lot of you. What mental tricks did you use to keep yourself going?
You have learned a lot about yourself and how you handle hardship this week. That’s useful in your personal life (obviously) and useful in your professional one too. Time teaches. So does a crises. Make sure you remember what you learned about yourself.
As always, let us know if you need anything — we’re all in this together!
Crises as extreme as Winter Storm Uri are trying and rare, but the lessons they can teach up about are selves are equally significant. And going forward, International Business students will be a little warmer, a little hardier, and a little wiser.