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Weathering the storm

Story by
Gia Liu laughs and plays chopsticks while sheltering in the Fisk Hall basement. Photo by Ashley Dong

The only time all 84 cherubs were silent was in Fisk Hall on a random Wednesday when our cell alerts went off.

A tornado warning.

“We’re going to the basement.”

Within seconds, we were shuffling down two flights of stairs.

The small hallway in the basement of Fisk was just large enough to fit all of us — think Harry Potter’s Cupboard Under the Stairs.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. In our first three weeks, Evanston weather swung from abrasive sun to torrential thunderstorms to hazy skies to flash floods.

Power-walking to East Fairchild while drenched from an inescapable downpour, keeping an umbrella on hand at all times and racing to the beach during any moment of extended sunshine had become our collective norm.

Sheltering below our lecture hall just seemed like the next challenge to our adaptability, courtesy of Evanston weather.

I braced myself for an uncomfortable 30 minutes of small talk as we waited out the storm. Despite sitting shoulder to shoulder, close enough to smell each other, the potential awkwardness took the form of laughter.

In that half hour spent huddled in a sweaty basement, I bantered with people I hadn’t talked to before, cackled to the point it turned into a wheeze and competed fiercely to see who could get the most LinkedIn connections.

I could barely hear the Taylor Swift music blasting from a speaker on the other side of the room because of the uproarious noise of friendships forged in the shelter of Fisk.

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