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Earthquakes suck; skip town?

exisexis Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I live in Christchurch, and this just happened. For those unfamiliar, we had a rather large quake here in September. There have been somewhere over 4000 aftershocks since, ranging from unnoticed to 'get under the desk'. The September quake wasn't bad in that it happened at 4am, and there were no deaths. This one happened at lunch time, and some buildings collapsed, killing quite a few people.

This sucks, obviously, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate in that I and my family are safe, and my parents have power/limited water. However the situation is shitty, for the following (totally selfish) reasons, in no real order:
- City is without reliable sewerage and water. Nobodies meant to flush a toilet or shower. Water from the tap needs boiling. There has been no estimate given on when to expect the sewerage system etc to be back up and running (early estimations are several weeks+).
- My office at university is on the 3rd floor of a 6 floor building, and all of my lectures are somewhere within there. The building is modern and has so far dealt quite well with quakes (I was up there when the recent one hit). But really we have no way of knowing when the next one will hit, where it will be centered, and how big it will be.
- Frankly I don't feel safe in any multiple story buildings right now. Sleeping is very difficult with aftershocks going on through the night. The slightest rumble (happening pretty much every hour at the moment on average) has me jerking up ready to run.
- The last quake has essentially (seismologists are telling us) reset the cycle. They've pretty much said "expect the aftershocks to start anew", plus the added bonus of never knowing if another large fault will go. It was just something we dealt with before, but after seeing what damage an 'aftershock' can do, honestly, I'm not sure I want to be here anymore.

I am 24. I have my bachelors degree (comp science), and I was just starting my first year (of two) of a masters degree. If I want my degree recognized worldwide (US etc, I think my BSc will get me jobs in Aussie/UK), I need to do the postgrad thing. Canterbury is the best uni in the country for comp science, and I would rather wait to study here than study elsewhere right now. The final date for withdrawal with a full refund is next Friday (4th March). Jobs are not particularly difficult to come by in my field). My girlfriend lives in a different city, we've been doing long distance. Besides my parents and my study, I am not attached to this city. I have enough money saved to last me... maybe a month (conservatively) if I was living with my girlfriend. My parents would support me if needed.

You probably see where this is going. I'm considering putting aside my plans for a masters degree and joining the workforce, essentially so that I can get the fuck out of this place, because I'm afraid that if I stay, next time I won't be lucky. Maybe, I could work for a year, and the shocks will stop, and I can come back and do my masters anyway. I am a bit worried that if I leave uni now, I won't ever come back. I also have less than a week to decide whether or not this is an overreaction, or an entirely reasonable thing to do.

So should I leave town and look for a job?

I know that I just blurted that all out, so sorry if this is nonsensical. And I might not necessarily adhere to the advice given. But shit has been pretty crazy the last few days and everyone I know here is in the middle of the craziness too, so I just wanted to get some outside perspective.

exis on

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    The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2011
    Don't feel bad. That's survivors' guilt, and its logical but not, if you know what I mean.

    I'm not a massive geoscience expert, but I do have a background in enviro science and just enough geol knowledge to suggest that that new fault is not going to calm down for a good long while. Don't be banking on it being normal in a year! NZ is built on a massive fault line and to be brutally honest there is a price for all that gorgeous scenery :/ you won't really be shock-free elsewhere, although obvs it will be easier in places where a shiny new faultline hasn't jumped up out of coastal alluvium D:

    I don't for a minute think that you're wrong for wanting to be elsewhere. And there's a million jobs out there for someone adaptable with even a bit of IT knowledge. But if you want to help your town rebuild, you could be a really valuable person. So you really want to think about how you can handle the next couple of weeks.

    Look, once the madness has subsided I reckon the uni will be flexible about changing plans. You won't be alone in your situation, you know. You should be able to access some kind of deferment for a semester or a year. Judging by the stats, most everyone working there will at least have lost a friend, if not worse.

    I think you should just play it by ear for now, but go where you feel safe.

    The Cat on
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    DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Feeling safe where you live is an important thing and should be the foremost factor in your decision.

    If you're wandering around feeling like the sword of damocles is hanging over your head, you're going to be miserable no matter what you're doing. Its akin to someone who gets their house burgled and moves house, despite the house being refitted with new locks or whatever. Logic doesn't enter into it, and you need to be able to feel safe in your own house.

    Decide on that first, decide if you can feel safe still living in Christchurch, and if the answer is no, work around that. Perhaps you can continue your Masters in another place. Degrees can sometimes be transferable.

    Dhalphir on
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    exisexis Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Okay, thanks folks. Uni has been closed until 14 March now, so I'm going to head up to Rotorua (where my girlfriend is) for a week or so. The deadline for withdrawal has been extended so there's no huge rush on things.

    I'm still feeling pretty certain that I at least don't want to be in the building I'd need to be to study in. I'll give it some more thought while I'm away, and see what's available on the job market.

    exis on
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    illigillig Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    you might want to consider getting some counseling/therapy instead of skipping town immediately (and putting schooling on hold, etc.)

    i was in my junior year of school @ NYU when 9/11 happened and for a bit i felt sort of like you (we had terrorist attack false alarms for months afterwards and everyone was on edge) - i got over it without professional help, but many of my acquaintances and my GF took advantage of counseling to talk through and resolve their disaster related fears

    illig on
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    lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I think that getting out of the city and into something of a slightly normal state will help, like with Rotorua. We have friends that have come up here to Auckland for the week. They had electric and internet, but no water at all. All things told, they were pretty lucky.

    But even being up here in Auckland with us, they're still having some small jumpiness issues. we went out to eat in the CBD last night and the floor rumbled a bit from the subway under us, and the both of them turned real pale and tensed up for a second or two.

    Get out of the city, get away from the damage and the rumbling and the constant nerves being frayed and ruined. Get to the country, relax a bit, settle in, let your mind and your body actually get some rest, and then go from there.

    but don't make such big decisions from the position that you're in right now. don't be crazy spontaneous just yet. I can't imagine it's easy to think clearly with all of that happening around you.

    lonelyahava on
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