The morning of our last snow day, I opened my window to the sight of a white wonderland taking over my apartment parking lot — and a girl trying to dig her red Prius out of the snow. I observed that it was still snowing and decided to open my window to smell the falling, frozen blessing. After about 10 seconds I was slightly wet and cold and decided to close the window because I’m a busy person and my life isn’t a Disney movie. But during those 10 seconds, I could not help but wonder, why was I more excited for a snow day than spring break?
Looking toward spring break, I can’t help but plan what I’m going to do and, most importantly, what I’m not going to do. I also can’t help but turn around and ask everyone and their mother what they are doing for spring break. Some students are spending time abroad, going on vacation, working on a Branch Out trip or are proudly planning absolutely nothing. But maybe that’s why spring break is not as much fun as a snow day. Spring break is a planned week of fun, but a snow day is a spontaneous day of whatever.
As college students, we are always looking ahead to what we will do, what we have to do, what we will see and what we will be one day. Sometimes we need a break from planning and constantly moving forward. On a snow day, time stands still; we all wish for one when we have more on our plates than we think we can handle. In this moment we can choose to either succumb to the pressures of being time-bound creatures or we can channel Phineas and Ferb and say, “Ferb, what are we gonna do today?”
We should channel our inner children, revisit what we would have done on a snow day when we were 10 and relive those memories. Or maybe we can alter them a bit, now that we’re older.
Meet your best buds under a designated tree and go on an adventure through the snow across campus. Or discover that the snow is perfect for building not only a snowman, but a snow duck, a snow chair and a snow person. Then use extra large black trash bags (check maintenance’s supply closet) to sled down Colonial Williamsburg’s biggest hill.
You can also decide to stay in your room with your stash of food, which you so prudently collected before the snowstorm, and watch every season of “Gossip Girl” or “House of Cards.” Maybe you could do all of those homework assignments that are two weeks late. You can look at your calendar, note future assignments, and proceed to point and laugh because you have yet another day to avoid them.
Although students may welcome the length of spring break, sometimes snow days come when they are needed most. They can disrupt exams you aren’t prepared to take or provide extra time to work on papers which aren’t finished.
The spontaneity of snow days prompt you to rethink what breaks are and what proper break etiquette should be. Instead of training yourself to be a workaholic and planning every hour in your agenda, consider leaving an entire day blank; it can help you accomplish much more. A break is a time of self-reflection as well as a time to breathe and ask yourself what you want to do, rather than what you need to do. Thirty-minute power naps often aren’t what keep people going. Instead what keeps us on track are those days when we can just let go of our pent-up stress.
Jillian Bates is a Confusion Corner columnist who once binge-watched every episode of Phineas and Ferb on a snow day.