"Until you're actually in a catastrophe you don't know how you'd behave." That's how Glenn Stutzky prefaces the MSU Summer 2014 class "Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse – Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior".
When I first heard about this class, I didn't give it much credence. Another crazy pop culture class - but then again, as a teacher of comics and all things related, I had to step back. After all Walking Dead is one great comic book series that was serialized on television. Although, I have to say, I still wasn't convinced that the zombie apocalypse was an appropriate fit in classes on the study of human behavior.
That was before I watched the above video.
What changed my mind? The Mt. Diablo Fire of 2013. I had always thought of myself as one of those people who, in the face of disaster, would remain calm, cool, and collected, rescuing neighbors and pets alike. But, no, when Mt. Diablo was engulfed in flames, I was a nervous wreck that almost passed out a number of times due to stress? Fear? Loss of control?
I actually made one of my neighbors who has over 40 horses come to my house and help me hook up my two-horse trailer. I know I wasn't that generous - I was there.
My neighbors and I finally became trapped on our properties, having to "shelter in place" and if that fire jumped the road we would have all been B-B-Q.
So how do you think you'd behave in the face of disaster? Have you ever faced a catastrophe and were surprised by your own behavior? Why? How?
You can take SW290: Selected Topics in Social Work (Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse--Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior online for course credit from Michigan State University's Summer Study Program, but you better hurry up and register, or you'll be facing a different sort of disaster.