While some students complained about being back in the dormroom beds, one Grambling State University student slept on an unbearable blue cot in the Philadelphia International Airport.
Travis Donald, a senior mass communication major from New Orleans, was just one of the many students forced to miss the first day of classes Monday, while others missed more, because of cancelled flights and unsafe travel condition nationally.
Donald explained it took him three days to get from Baltimore to New Orleans. Then, once he arrived in New Orleans on Tuesday, he had to get to Grambling, more than a five-hour drive.
“Sunday night Chicago dipped into dangerous low negative temperatures with wind child of an -45 degrees,” said Tyler Gaston, 20, junior nursing major.
Grambling has many students from Chicago and surrounding areas. Of those students, multiple students reached out to The Gramblinite to tell their stories.
“We have been experiencing below zero temperatures since Sunday, and they predict they will continue to Thursday,” said Gaston, a native of Chicago. “We are used to cold weather and snow, but not interstates closing and flights being canceled.”
Many people are unable to get to work, and students are out of school. Many people were asked to please stay in their homes and avoid driving, leaving only for emergencies.
“These temperatures are record-breaking,” said Shaun Toussaint, 23, a senior kinesiology major. “Cars won’t start and people are warned to stay in the house due to sleet.”
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport the temperature was recorded at 15 degrees at 7 a.m. on Monday, breaking the existing record set in 1894. The wind chill, the way it feels outside, dropped down to -40 to -50 in Chicago, and even lower in other areas.
Toussaint plans to take the approximately 13-hour drive back to Grambling this weekend with his roommate, Antwan Canedy. According to the Weather Channel, the temperature will begin to heat up and it will be 40 degrees Friday and 37 degrees on Saturday.
Keisha Ricketts could have made back Grambling on Saturday, Jan. 2 but one simple mistake by her airline caused her to be delayed almost a week.
“Delta messed up my flight for Saturday and rescheduled me a flight for Sunday,” said Ricketts, 22, a senior mass communications major from Indianapolis. But when Sunday arrived in Indianapolis, Indi. was “delivered the biggest winter wonderland” Ricketts ever experienced.
“Wish-TV news 8 stated out weather has the lowest temperatures in the Midwest and we have temperatures lower than Alaska,” said Ricketts in a phone interview from her home. “I’ve been outside to get wood from our shed and the snow is to my knees.”
Ricketts also describes on her way home from the airport on Sunday, she saw four car accidents.
“The worst was a sliding car hit a concrete wall,” said the GSU student. After five flights being cancelled, she plans to arrive back in GSU on Thursday afternoon from the Monroe Regional Airport.
One issue for stranded students is registering for spring classes.
“I am not even registered yet,” said Toussaint. “I owe $700. But, hopefully the administration will extend registration.”
“I wasn’t able to finish registration before break and planned to arrive on campus early to finish before classes officially began,” said Ricketts. “My five cancelled flights really put a stop to my plans. I hope I have time to finish registering.”
Early registration for GSU students opened last semester on Nov. 4-8. Students were advised to finalize their academic arrangements before leaving for winter break. But, some students like Toussaint who owe large amounts of payment are forced to wait until they have the money. Registration for the spring semester has extended to Jan. 24.
Grambling State officials were not available for comment. Students are suggested to go online and complete registration if possible.