On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

April 17, 1999 Permalink

Y2k from the college student’s perspective is a point of view that has often been neglected. College students who feel that their families should prepare for Y2k are in an awkward position. For the most part we are mentally and physically adults but we are still dependent on our parents financially. In order for college students to prepare for Y2k, we have to convince our parents that Y2k is serious enough to prepare for. My preparing for Y2k doesn’t involve buying a year’s worth of food or installing a wood stove at the cabin in the mountains. It involves trying to convince my parents to do these things. As most WRP readers know, convincing someone that Y2k is something to prepare for is no easy task.

I first found out about the Y2k problem early in November from a link on one of my favorite band’s web-site. The link said: “the bug of all bugs, could this really happen?” Since my job at the school library allows me 15 hours a week to surf on the Internet I had plenty of time to research the issue.

After a month of reading just about every link on Gary North’s page, nearly all of the back issues of the DC Y2k Weather Report and everything on Rick Cowles’ web page, I came to some conclusions. It seemed to me that the Y2k could very well be a disaster and that my family needed to prepare for possible outcomes associated with this disaster.

During this time my roommate, Bobby, who is a computer science major, was also doing his own research. When I first told Bobby that I thought Y2k could be a disaster he laughed. The next day he came home and said that he now was a “believer”. After a full day of researching Y2k on the net and talking to a man who is contracted to work on the mainframes at ECU, Bobby’s reply to me was “it’s worse than you thought.”

Bobby and I continued to research Y2k, and every night we would discuss what we had found out. The night before we left for Christmas break we talked about how we planned to tell our families about what we had learned from our many hours of research. We both were sure that our families would be happy that we had found out about the problem before it was too late.

The responses Bobby and I received from our families over Christmas break were not at all what we expected. We learned over the break that Y2k was, to say the least, a touchy subject. It was not the kind of topic to be discussed at the dinner table. My parents insisted that I not discuss it with my relatives at the family get-together in Chicago. They said that it would “spoil the fun”. Bobby had similar experiences over the break. He said that his parents now refuse to hear anything about Y2k and get very angry if he even brings up the topic.

After sending large amounts of information on Y2k and many passionate letters expressing my concern, my parents still are not preparing. I have quickly found out that one can not make other people feel that they need to prepare. Coming to the conclusion that Y2k is something to prepare for is strictly a personal decision. I also found that the more I talked about it and the more information I sent, the more my parents were unwilling to accept it. So I have given up trying to convince people (especially my parents) that Y2k is serious, because doing so is extremely counterproductive.

—Michael McElwain, Cory Hamasaki’s DC Y2K Weather Report, 04/17/99

Those of us with children have some special Y2K concerns to consider. Much of this is really common sense, which for some is not so common. Anyway, one aspect that I have not seen much posted about is addressing children’s attention span. Many get bored quickly. Lots of things come into play here. Some children are more ‘loners’ than others, and require less attention comparitively, content to amuse themselves a good part of the time. Others are not this way. Then we have some who are ‘only’ children and some who have brothers and/or sisters with which to argue, er, I mean play. Certainly, a lot has to do with their ages and current ‘lifestyle’ also.

One thing that we learned in doing our last Y2K drill is that it is wise to have a bunch of things for them to do thought out ahead of time. It can be helping out with work around the house, playing compliant games, or any number of activities. Our drills were actually fun for the kids, as we had planned them carefully and taken this into consideration. We used the latest drill as a learning experience for them (and us), to pretend that we were living in some ways like the pilgrims did. They were actually disappointed when I turned the juice back on and the ‘game’ was over.

Anyway, one question that occurred to me was how quickly will they get bored with it all, and then what? Having a drill for two or three days is one thing, going two or three weeks, or longer, is quite another. I have posted before that I believe that children are, somewhat paradoxically, the most susceptible and at the same time the most resilient of us all. People that I have spoken to have told me that during the Great Depression, for example, the kids just made up their own toys and games, and that there wasn’t much money for most, and so most people, including the kids, were in the same boat. There wasn’t a lot of jealousy between children over material things since so many were poor. They got through it though. There may be some parallels between that period and what we are looking at with Y2K, while at the same time there will also be major differences.

—Rob Michaels, Time Bomb 2000 Forums (LUSENET), 04/17/99

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