Snow day reflections: on rest and spontaneity

Saad reflects on the promise, rest and bittersweetness of snow days for college students.

Feb. 1, 2022. It was the night before a snow day, a night full of possibility and knowledge that tomorrow would be a day spent in a liminal space. A surprise respite from the sometimes harried activity of a proper school day with classes, clubs and other responsibilities.

Snow days promise escape from all of that, even if some of it must be spent in front of the computer, catching up on assignments and readings. Yet the idea of a full day without classes stretches luxuriously in front of many students, prompting late-night hangouts with friends until two a.m. and mornings spent sleeping in.

Even if on Wednesday, students didn’t necessarily wake to a blanket of snow, the day still unlocked childhood memories of time spent sleeping in and watching TV shows you never saw during the day. Winter days like these are dangerous, and for most adults, pose problems that are serious at worst and irritating at best. But for college students, snow days still promise the magic they did while we were children.

Come Thursday, the snow rested heavy on the rooftops and lightly fell from the branches of the trees. Students braved the sidewalks and streets, running and shouting and creating all manner of muck, imagining ice fortresses and endless Arctic landscapes as they looked out from their vantage points on campus. Others stayed cozy inside, making soups, hot cocoa and other tasty treats.

Later, reality might have come crashing in and, begrudgingly, we had to settle down to get some work done. Those who pride themselves as good students may feel some guilt for not getting enough done. Others might not regret a day spent attending to responsibilities, but suddenly feel overwhelmed with all that there is to do. Both are unpleasant options.

As a college student, a snow day can be a complicated thing. Guilt and even shame come crashing in, ruining potential chances for relaxation. Sometimes, a snow day starts to feel less like a snow day and more like any other day, with the addition of even more work as we try to maximize extra time. Not to mention that many students who have jobs outside may still have to go to work.

Even if the snow days are over by now, we might still get a few in the next couple of months. If at all possible, enjoy the day off. Stop working much earlier than you would on a usual day and plan something fun you always wanted to do. Try a new recipe, play a game or even just call a friend to catch up.
It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a perfectly planned day. After all, snow days are a surprise – we should be just as spontaneous.

Post Author: Hana Saad