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A Passion for Compassion


July 15, 2011 http://www.southuniversity.edu/whoweare/newsroom/blog/a-passion-for-compassion

By Guest Blogger
Catherine Davis

BS in Media Arts & Animation Student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

Week three of classes and I’m ready to go. I’ve done my research, proofread my discussions and cited my sources. The only thing left to do is read it once more and post it to the classroom thread. It’s the first week that I’ve been ready to post a response before midnight, leaving me time to do the unthinkable – sleep. I can hear the thunder behind me but think nothing of it. I’m concentrating on my post, trying to find any grammar errors and rewording any loquacious sentences. A bolt of lightning catches my eye and I know it’s time for me to post my assignment. I press on the orange icon for Firefox expecting my homepage to pop up almost instantly. Instead, a clap of thunder roars and my apartment loses power.

“It’s okay…auto-save will come to the rescue,” says my husband.

I’m excited for this revelation hoping that power is restored shortly so that I may complete my assignment. Five minutes pass, then ten, then twenty. After forty minutes, I relocate to the living room hoping that if my computer knows I’m not watching, it will turn on. I sit in the darkness, only seeing the outline of my husband at the window when bolts of lightning illuminate the night sky. I remember the trick of counting the seconds between thunder and lightning to deduce the distance of the storm. Four seconds, four miles. Two minutes later, it’s only one mile away from us. The wails of the tornado sirens prompt me to jump from my couch and move to the window, because that seemed logical. Just as I stop next to the window, the tree behind my apartment is snapped in half and thrown to my window as if God were playing fetch with the tornado. Without hesitation, I run out of my second story apartment and hide under the stairs. In all of the commotion, the first thing I think is – my professor is going to think this is an excuse.

I take out my cell phone from my pocket and write a frantic email, “In stairwell. Tornadoes. Homework done. Will turn in asap.” For thirty minutes, I hide under the stairs, listening to the sounds of my community being ripped apart by a tornado. The storm passes but still no power. I completely forget that homework exists until two days later when my power is restored. I rush to my computer to find my assignment saved by the power of Microsoft and post my assignment with apologies. I see a new email and expect no leniency. Tears stung my cheeks as I read the compassionate words of my professor:

Don’t be scared, it will pass. Let me know you’re safe. I will keep you and your community in my thoughts.

P.s. Safety trumps homework. Turn it in when you can.

Thousands of miles between my professor and I, but I felt her compassion wrap around me like a hug that day.

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Tags: media arts online learning student blogger

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