Like every crisis in Turkey, the earthquake on February 6, 2023, at 04:17, affected the students. But, of course, the first victims of the incident were students.
Living in Bağlar, Diyarbakır, B.S. was studying Maritime Transportation and Management Engineering at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University in Rize. He came to Diyarbakir for the break and caught the February 6 earthquake in a 30-year-old building. Since their house is old, the house was severely damaged. The building was sealed, the entrance and exit were prohibited, and the authorities decided for demolition.
His father broke his leg while running away from the earthquake. His eight-year-old brother, the family’s youngest member, was affected the most. After the earthquake, he did not eat, did not play, and cut off communication. This situation affected the psychology of the whole family. As a family, they stay in their uncle’s 3+1-room house. They have no job or education opportunities. They stare at each other all day in the house. They don’t have much for distraction. They all have this question: “What will we do without a home? When will this be over?” Finally, his/her siblings recovered slightly in the second week of the earthquake. Somewhat, that helped to recuperate the psychology of the family.
B.S. said that with the opening of schools affiliated with the Ministry of National Education, his/her parents and two younger siblings registered for school in the district where their grandfather lived: “They decided to stay at my grandfather’s house, my brother and I stayed with my uncles.”
Earthquake Psychology and the Effect of Education on student psychology
Like many students, B.S. was also curious about how education will continue. Authorities decided to continue teaching online. B.S. explained the effect of this decision as follows:
“As an earthquake survivor, like many students, the problem I faced during this process was that I only had a phone to attend online classes. In addition, in such a significant economic crisis, I had to restock all the school supplies left in my house. Even in normal times, I could barely buy a bus ticket, but I had to go to Rize again to get my belongings I left in the dormitory.
“Another problem is that I don’t have a space of my own. I don’t mean a house or a room, but the absence of an area where I can sit, study, and attend my classes. Another big problem is the Internet. There is no internet in my grandpa’s or uncle’s house, which we live in. How will mobile internet packages be sufficient with an average of six hours of online lessons daily while they are not in normal times? Besides, like many students, I am concerned about how to pay these phone bills.
“As a maritime transportation and management engineer student, we are experiencing the same problems we experienced during the pandemic. Even worse. We don’t have a house, we don’t have any belongings, and most of our friends or relatives have passed away. So there is no limit to our psychological distress. Once again, I learned that the school is not just a place with four walls that teaches people; it is a structure that keeps people alive, protects their psychology and shields them from their problems. During this period, our psychological problems increased the most.”
As maritime transportation and management engineer students, we will graduate without seeing a ship, while we should be trained without leaving the sea and ship. And most of our friends are like us.