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Friday, October 18, 2019

Campus

With flooding prevalent, students take advantage of days off


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| Courtesy of Jazden Skala

When the University canceled class Monday due to an incapacitating city-wide flood, students took the extra time to work on projects and homework. But some, like Jazden Skala and his Delta Upsilon brothers, jumped at the opportunity to have a little fun.

Last October, when heavy rains fell just before Halloween, the mechanical engineering sophomore Skala helped to bring kayaks from a fraternity brother’s house in Sugar Land and waited in anticipation of the next heavy rainfall.

“Originally, we planned to float down the bayou,” Skala said. “But then, we kind of saw how quick it was going and how rapid it got when it hit the bridge.”

Skala paddled around a make-shift pond in front of Bayou Oaks with three other Delta Upsilon members and his girlfriend, Sheila Berenji, who is part of Phi Mu. As cars drove by them, drivers honked and cheered.

“The pond wasn’t dangerous, but the water was dirty,” Berenji, a biochemistry sophomore, said. “Probably the most dangerous thing was the bug bites I got.”

Following the intense storms around the city of Houston, other students found themselves with excess time they aren’t accustomed to having in the final weeks of the semester.

Abel Rocha, a vocal performance and American Sign Language senior, viewed the extended weekend as a blessing by many students.

“I’m totally happy with the cancellations,” Rocha said. “It’s giving me some much needed catch-up time.”

Rocha, an employee at The Nook, said that he saw a drop in the number of customers on Tuesday compared to a normal week.

“It was actually less busy than it would have been normally, which I was surprised about,” Rocha said. “Being one of the only things open, I thought more people would have been here. It’s catching up now, but it was pretty quiet in the morning.”

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Rain started up again on Tuesday. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

For violin performance senior Rachel Warden, the cancellations came at a critical time in her semester.

“I had a pre-recital jury yesterday, which means if I didn’t pass the jury, I couldn’t do my recital in two weeks, which is for my degree,” Warden said. “I was really worried about it because I wasn’t prepared at all, so now I have more time to practice.”

But while many students greeted the floods with excitement, psychology sophomore Tatiana Brisco expressed concern.

“My first reaction was to call people to see if everyone was alright,” Brisco said. “I got a few calls from my friends to see if everything was good.”

This close to the end of the semester, Brisco said she thinks the break could be detrimental to students.

“I think it kind of throws your rhythm off,” Brisco said. “Especially if we don’t open back up pretty soon because I think we only have two more weeks of class left. I don’t know if it’s going to disturb the finals schedule or anything like that.”

Piano performance senior Sonya Bandouil and graduate music student Elena Bokova said they had difficulty in fulfilling basic needs on campus during the flood on Monday.

“One of the hardest parts was probably getting food,” Bandouil said. “Yesterday, everything was shut down except for the dining halls.”

While she took time to relax, Bokova said she did take advantage of the time off to prepare for the end of the semester.

“I got up and saw that there’s no school and went back to bed and got up at 11,” Bokova said. “I have an exam on Friday so I did do some studying, but mostly just stayed in bed or read.”

But after a lazy Monday, Warden said she’s going to use the cancellation of classes on Tuesday as a chance to catch up on what she needs to do.

“This is my second chance,” Warden said. “I feel guilty about not doing anything yesterday so now I’m like ‘I have to do everything’.”

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