“It’s kind of like a blur,” said Elon University sophomore Miranda Thompson as she described her 38 minutes in Hawai'i on January 13. Starting at roughly 8 a.m. and lasting 38 minutes, the residents of Hawai'i — which includes 23 study USA students from Elon — had a morning they will never forget.

The 23 Elon students currently finishing up their study USA course in Hawai'i woke up to an Emergency Alert for an inbound Ballistic Missile Threat. Residing in a hotel, they sought shelter in the basement with their professors and other families staying in the hotel.

“I was pretty shocked and kind of frustrated more than scared,” Thompson said. “I know a lot of people were down there crying, calling their parents, but I wasn’t crying. I was just trying to figure out who should I call first, because who knows when this thing is going to hit?”

After the 38 minutes had passed, they all received another alert saying that it was a false alarm. Thompson said, “I have never been so relieved in my entire life,” once reading that message.

As the Elon students are finishing up their semester with 5 days left, they are looking forward to coming home. From a long semester and a terrifying event, these Elon students have been through quite a lot. “People joke about the event now, but in the moment, we thought that was real," Thompson said, reflecting on the event.