From New York to DePauw: The struggle


Brandon Serra, 19, a sophomore Posse Scholar at DePauw, was surely missing his posse this past week when he became stranded in Columbus, OH.

After leaving his New York City home on Sunday, Jan. 5, Serra, like many other travelers, was forced to call a Greyhound bus station home for two days after being told that he would have to sit and wait until the Midwest snowstorm passed.

The storm, which began mid-afternoon Jan. 3 and continued into Jan. 7, left about six to 14 inches of snow in its wake and  brought sub-zero winds that the state of Indiana has not seen in over 20 years.

While the storm might have been a welcomed addition to some Midwesterners' holiday vacations, for many DePauw students the storm was an unexpected opportunity for life-changing lessons.

"I learned I could be patient and I could be responsible for myself," said Serra, who had no choice other than to sit on the bus station's uncomfortable metal seats, eat fast-food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and go days without showering.

Serra says not being able to shower "brought his self-esteem down" and made him feel "dirty." And even though he learned a lot about himself, Serra hopes he will never have to experience the helplessness of being stranded again.

First-year Jazmin Lesane also left her New York City home to return to DePauw during the snowstorm. She was stranded in the same Columbus, Ohio Greyhound bus station as Serra, but unlike him, she was able to turn her bad situation into a good one. She was given the opportunity to spend her time at a friend's house.

"I was just scared for the night to approach because I'm a female and some of these guys look sketchy," she said.

Her friend's background was also very different from her own and she was able to experience a whole new side of life that will be embedded in her mind forever.

Felix Amankwah, a first-year, left New York City on Monday, Jan. 6, with the belief that he would be able to fly into Indianapolis, but he was mistaken. Amankwah, like Serra and Lesane, was also stranded in Columbus, Ohio.

He stayed in Ohio for about 12 hours after which he was put on a flight to Boston where he waited another 12 hours to get on a flight from Boston to Indianapolis. Amankwah describes his whole experience as a "hassle."

Each of these three students said that the DePauw shuttle service was the most impactful during their time of helplessness, calling everyday to check in on them and make sure they got back to campus safely.

One thing each did realize was that they needed to pay more attention to the news.