Flurries of statuses, comments, tweets, and snapshots on the feeds of various social media networks about the recent winter storm piled higher than the actual snowfall this past weekend. Popular phrases included “blizzard of ‘13” and some sort of wordplay with the storm’s name and the Pixar movie, Finding Nemo.
The buzz over the blizzard was justifiable though. This “historic and crippling” super-storm hit the Northeast hard with heavy precipitation and winds, dumping as much as three feet of snow on parts of Connecticut. Fairfield County saw up to 20 inches, with white heaps mounting on porches, sidewalks, and shrubs.
Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered the closure of all roads on Saturday through midafternoon and conditions were so poor that even emergency responders were getting stuck on highways.
Gov. Malloy reported five deaths that were apparently weather-related, including a 73-year-old man who died when he fell while cleaning up in Danbury. The National Guard was brought in to help clear snow in New Haven, which got 34 inches, and the state’s largest utility, Connecticut Light & Power, reported power failures affecting 38,000 homes and businesses.
Many schools in the area had last Friday off due to the impending storm. Initially, upon receiving word on Thursday afternoon that school would be closed the next day, the pleasant reaction of many students could be seen in their gallivanting cheerfully up and down the halls, breathing sighs of relief, excited by the prospect of a curtailed school week. I may or may not have been one of these students.
However, the days of guiltlessly spending snow days making snow-angels and sipping hot-cocoa seem a distant memory.
At our age, there is no longer the comfortable sense that a day without school simply translates into a day of play, and if it does, it often leads to late Sunday night regret as work is frantically being finished.
While students tend to burst with excitement at the thought of a spontaneous day off, at this point in our educational careers, snow days may be less of an asset. On the contrary, in high school, particularly during the thick of junior year when every fraction of time seems to need to be micro-managed, it becomes more important, more expected, to use a seemingly-free day wisely.
We are often exhausted and yes, it is tempting to take the whole day off and frolic in the wintery flakes (or perhaps lie in bed for hours). But there is all of a sudden pressure to, instead of simply build snowmen, consider what it is we are missing at school that day and what will have to be made up. Not to mention the knowledge deep-down that a few hours of SAT prep wouldn’t hurt.
During a snow day, some teachers may assign additional work online, and tests (like my AP U.S. test) scheduled for the day of the snow must be postponed.
This can ever-so-slightly set back the teaching of curriculum and, in the long run, cause more stress.
For example, instead of having my AP U.S. test out of the way, I felt like I had the gift of extra time to prepare for it this weekend, when in reality I did not, considering an AP Bio test already scheduled for Monday and a math trimester test on Tuesday. As a result, I had three tests competing for my attention, rather than two, and, mixed with the relaxed mindset of the snow day, it didn’t turn out to be the best combination.
I by no means intend to come across as ungrateful for the day off, nor suggest that a day of rest and recreation is a bad thing. Sometimes, it can be a much-needed thing. It’s all about balance.
But, considering the increased risks of travel during stormy weather, the lure of the idea of de-focusing ourselves from our academics, and the days that could potentially be tacked onto vacation weeks or the end of the school year as a repercussion of a snow day, I may think twice about wearing my pajamas inside out the next time the rumor of snow arises.
Jane Gerstner is a junior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart.