As the beginning of January brought the end of winter break, students packed their bags, traded beloved pajamas for pants and prepared to begin spring semester classes.
Returning to Malibu after the new year often produces feelings of motivation, anticipation and nostalgia for Netflix. But for some, this travel season was infiltrated by stress brought on by the extremely frigid weather experienced through the East Coast, Midwest and even a few Southern states.
Dubbed the “polar vortex,” this long lasting cold front wreaked havoc on air travel, leaving passengers stranded for hours and in some cases days.
As flights were constantly delayed and then cancelled, students had no option but to ride out the storm. Senior Jack Sherrer was stuck in Indianapolis, Ind., after attending a leadership conference.
Sherrer’s flight was scheduled to depart the afternoon of Jan. 5, but his flight was cancelled. Sherrer said he grew up in Georgia, so he is not accustomed to the cold conditions of the Midwest. “It was the coldest weather I’ve ever been in,” he said.
According to The Weather Channel, Jan. 5 marked the second snowiest day in the history of Indianapolis, with 11.4 inches of snow recorded at the Indianapolis International Airport. Sherrer braved the weather one afternoon in search of food, and found the city had not prepared for such conditions.
“We went to the grocery store and almost all of the food was gone,” Sherrer said. Forced to miss his first two days of classes, Sherrer said his time spent waiting in a shut-down city was “stressful at the beginning” and he “couldn’t stand” not being at Pepperdine. Fortunately, professors were instructed to take the circumstances into consideration and allowed the delayed students time to make up missed work.
“Everyone’s been very understanding,” Sherrer said, noting how his complete class schedule alteration worked out favorably in the end.
Even though junior Morgan Rockman was able to return to Malibu in time for her classes Tuesday, she experienced similar stress and delays while returning to Los Angeles. Departing from Houston on Saturday morning, Rockman flew Southwest airlines to catch a connection in Las Vegas. However, due to a delay in Houston, she missed her connection in Las Vegas and had to wait for another flight to LAX.
Upon arriving at LAX, she said she found out her bags had not made it with her, and that there were hundreds of unclaimed bags in baggage claim, waiting to be picked up.
Like Sherrer, Rockman emailed her professors about the travel delays and was granted time to make up her work. While traveling back to Pepperdine was stressful, Rockman said she was able to handle it since so many other students were having the same problems.
Follow Katrina Kirsch on Twitter: @Katrina_Kirsch
As published in the Jan. 16 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.