Opinion: Blackout epiphany

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].

I remember last Friday as if it were yesterday. I was spending a relaxing afternoon unwinding from a tough week, watching YouTube on my Xbox on my TV while browsing Reddit and Facebook on my laptop, when the blackout occurred.

Around 4:15 p.m., there was an entire campuswide blackout that knocked out everything but the reserve power that allowed us to use our doors. I went to my laptop to check if everywhere was out, but it didn’t have any connection. Silly me. I was going to call someone, but I forgot to charge my phone that day, and it was almost out, so I saved it in case there was an emergency. I poked my head out of the doorway and saw my floor mates just as bewildered as I was, looking at each other and confused as if the sun had fallen out of the sky.

I was then hanging outside with two of my friends saying how much this sucked. We saw there were droves of students walking around campus outside, which, maybe not 10 minutes ago, was basically empty. This filled me with both anxiety and happiness that people were becoming more social, though it took a power outage to accomplish that.

I asked one of my friends how long they think it might last, and he said he heard it may take up to three hours. Three hours? I was devastated. I didn’t even get much to eat that day, and if the power stayed out I wouldn’t be able to get any food — or cook it, since ovens and microwaves didn’t work, but even then I couldn’t use my Flashcard to purchase food if the power was out.

How could I survive without power? How could any of us go on without this? I was slowly losing my mind when it finally happened: The power came back on, after 20 minutes. I was so happy; I just wanted to go running in the streets shouting that the power was back on.

This was the first time this occurred while I’ve been in college, and something had dawned on me. As a college student, I greatly need to be near electricity at almost all hours of the day. I rely on my laptop and the Internet for keeping in touch with people and my classes; I need scanners and card swipers to use my card key and Flashcard; and I need power to heat my food, heat my dorm, have the light on at night and charge my phone. I can only imagine what would happen if Kent State blacked out for more than a day.

This happens more often than we think, and we try our best to ignore the fact that it may happen to us on a larger scale. This made me humble to not using so many digital electronics, but when you are living like you are on campus, there are just some things that you can’t avoid. I greatly suggest you have a plan if this happens in your life, because our insatiable need to be electronically connected may be our own reckoning as we become more intertwined with technology in our daily lives.