My thoughts and prayers go out to all the East Coast residents currently bearing the brunt of hurricane Sandy’s onslaught. This post, though, is not about meteorology or tide levels, but about how socioeconomic class (and occupation) affect one’s views of disaster.
After thinking about the various permutations of mayhem the hurricane may spawn, one thought lodged in my mind last night, what does this storm mean for college admissions? The early decision deadline for many schools is Thursday, November 1. If power goes out, will that mean many East Coast student won’t be able to apply on time? Will that give Midwestern students like the ones I teach, an edge in the process because they will have fewer students against whom to compete for admission? How is it best to play the situation? Should students quickly take advantage of the storm to apply to schools that would otherwise have been out of their reach, taking a shot hoping some talent will wash out of the pool. Of course, if schools move the deadline, then that cuts off this speculation, but it would at least give students in the Midwest more time to hone their essays and those essays might then look better in comparison to those produced under storm conditions. Then again if students in the East use the storm as fodder for moving essays, they could be at an advantage.
Then I thought about the thoughts I had and upbraided myself for such blatant opportunism. I also wondered though how much of my reaction is the classic reaction of a sheltered member of the upper middle class who feels isolated from disaster. Then again perhaps class just plays into how I imagine taking advantage of the disaster. Instead of thinking of ways to make a buck or two hoarding bottled water, I am thinking of ways students could use the storm to get into the Ivy League.