Thoughts on snow days: Within college and beyond

Rudy Urenovich, Contributing Writer

Perhaps I am feeling a bit cathartic with it being my senior year–knowing my educational experiences in a school setting are numbered, or maybe I am examining how they have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic–but this week I found myself reflecting on snow days. 

I must admit snow days do not carry the same magic in college as they did in elementary or even high school. It does not really feel like a day off to relax, but rather a day for anxiety and stress to manifest itself in full form when thinking about classes, work, weather and other grown-up pains. 

One does not really have the option to take a day off in college. Well, one can, but it takes a level of compartmentalizing and denial that I am envious of. A day off that brings treacherous weather, hazardous road conditions and overall cold and darkness is anything but relaxing and will oftentimes impact responsibilities in the following days as well. 

No, I am not ignoring the elephant in the room. Something forever altered snow days or any unplanned day away from work or school for people of all ages around the globe: a little platform called Zoom. Funny to think three years ago at this time none of us even knew it was a thing–much less something that would become almost a lifeline to work, school and human communication.

I am going to play devil’s advocate for a little while. I, as I am sure many of you have, have seen firsthand how useful Zoom can be and how without it the past few years of school could have gone very differently. Even now that we are hopefully at the tail end of the pandemic, it is so easy to hop on Zoom for a meeting when meeting in person is difficult. 

But I digress, this article is not about Zoom. The point is Zoom interrupted snow days. We are either filled with hot drinks and streaming or homework and existential dread. Pick your poison. We do not really get a day off because we can still attend class virtually. 

While we can still enjoy being a homebody for a few hours and class is a bit more toned down, it just does not hold the same magic as it did in the past. All this being said, we cannot really place all the blame on Zoom because we used technology to complete assignments and participate in other aspects of class even before the platform was pushed to the forefront. D2L, I’m looking at you. 

On one hand, I obviously see how this is positive because we are less likely to get behind on school matters even by a day or class period. We can keep up and maybe even get ahead. It also teaches us how to be resourceful and get something done in an unexpected situation. That is just lovely. 

On the other hand, we can use a break to not work on school matters. If you are like me, you will still think about them. We have already established that. These college years might be our last chance for some semblance of a snow day. 

Once we are in the workforce, we might be less likely to have a snow day. Many see working from home as divine but it makes a snow day nonexistent. Also, many jobs do not close because there are a few inches of snow on the ground. They really do go hand in hand with school and its essence. 

In a way I think for myself and many of you who are around the same age that it is almost symbolic of adulthood sneaking up on us and gradually taking over slowly but surely. We once had snow days where we would sled, build snowmen and drink hot chocolate. Now they are filled with virtual classes, catching up on chores and making to-do lists.