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‘Cat in the Stacks: Crisis Averted

CAT HeadingI’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Two important things happened this weekend for Philadelphians and many people vacationing on the mid-Atlantic coast. The first most important thing that happened was that Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine made a quick and underwhelming pass at the area. After stories and warnings all week from media outlets about the pending inclement weather, Labor Day Weekend plans and the Made in America concert remained intact.

Whether you spent your weekend at the beach with friends and family or if you took in some tunes downtown, you probably still noticed the other thing that happened this weekend – that early semester work just simply did not get done. Some people handle the stress of not getting work done a lot better than others, but, for those stress mongers out there, allow me to show how these two big events of the weekend are interestingly intertwined.

Hermine's path

(Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine’s projected path – crisis averted for Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Courtesy of the BBC.)

Some of your professors walk in on that first day of class with that “I’m gonna inspire every single one of you” swagger, and they drop assignments of unthinkable difficulty or page-length and append the warning: “don’t get behind in my class, or you’ll suffer the consequences.” And in many ways, they are correct; getting behind at the college level can turn into a perpetual uphill battle very quickly.

On the first week of this school year, newscasters came on the television and explained to you that your weekend plans are ruined, that Hermine’s path is all but certain, and this storm, which will only strengthen, is going to strip you of Labor Day’s easygoing respite from an already hectic school year. Their warnings all but exclaim, “stay inside, get working, and don’t find yourself behind on that professor’s work!”

The weather brightened, though, and welcoming rays invited you out to a concert one day, for a road trip “down the shore” another, and, before you knew it, those little breaks from work equaled one long weekend taken off from worrying about writing or reading or studying. Now that you’re back in class for a shortened week, that professor’s warning might be freaking you out, just a bit.

For we mid-Atlantic inhabitants, Hermine drifted eastward causing strong wind gusts but nothing more. Put simply, despite warnings and in-depth projections, the world did not end. You will find this to be particularly true with your homework assignments as well. You took the weekend off, rested and recovered, came back to school on Tuesday-cum-Monday and discovered that the world did not end because you got a little bit behind on the reading.

Labor Day alarm

(What you may have looked like when your alarm went off on Tuesday. Harry Potter Weekend was another important feature of this Labor Day, plus Hermine, Hermione, you see the connection. Courtesy of

You will discover, however, that if you cannot return to work mode quickly, then that weekend off may have disastrous effects. Even Hermine, while it did not bring cataclysmic precipitation and widespread power outages to our area, had effects hidden to the naked eye. Your average beachgoer may not have understood why he or she was not allowed in the ocean this weekend, despite sunny and clear weather.

Two potentially deadly reasons force cities and lifeguarding staffs to close down beaches: rip currents and storm surge ­– the abnormal increase in sea levels caused by the atmospheric pressure of a hurricane or tropical storm. The storm surge represents an important message for you and your studies. While taking a weekend off might not sink an entire semester, we must get back on track before the semester’s pressure builds up and overwhelms us.

The Falvey Memorial Library has several resources that may help you get back on track. At the library you will find many spaces that can help you hide away from the storm outside and buckle down on your work. We have our own academic meteorologists here at the library too. Our staff of resource librarians can help you forecast your research schedule and give you the information needed to tackle any term project you’re facing. With a little help from us and a big helping of hard work, we hope you find smooth sailing to your semester goals, whatever they may be.

Website photo 2 Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.



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Last Modified: September 7, 2016

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