• Dr. Thom

The Opportunity of a Snow Day


Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash

Snow days are magical, especially on a college campus. Cafeteria trays and laundry baskets get turned into impromptu sleds, and that hill that was once the bane of the walk to class becomes the center of campus. There is a kind of understanding that even here, on this campus where adolescence slowly gives way to adulthood, that given the right accumulation of circumstances, being a kid is more than okay, but expected.


Sledding is quite possibly the perfect winter sport. Unlike skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating, no real prior experience is necessary to have a blast on a sled. In fact, you don’t even need a sled to go sledding. A simple flap of cardboard will suffice just fine. Also, the kind of conditions that make roads hazardous, more ice than snow in the mix, make for ideal sledding conditions. Perfection isn’t a requirement for an epic snow run - take it from Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.


Here is my son’s version of this comic as his sledding run ends up nearly in a creek, only to watch him pop up with a massive grin and a “did you see that?!”


I know that this snow storm has hit many people hard and it has been difficult for many essential workers to get around. I know that me being able to be “snowed in” at home with my family is a privilege. I hope that even folks who have been challenged by this weather can still find beauty in their surroundings and can be a kid, even if it is just for a moment on a sled.


There are of course, serious matters that need our attention. For our students and families, preparing for an uncertain future in a pandemic environment, and sorting through the difficulties of affording college are certainly serious issues. In many ways, our culture expects middle and high school to be not much more than an extended application process for college, expecting students to demonstrate what was once considered adult-like traits of professionalism, clarity of vision, and passion toward a career field.


Snow days, if you can get them, can remind us all of the simplicity of joy and beauty if we can pause long enough to notice. If we allow ourselves to just be a kid long enough to enjoy it before it melts. There’s time to work on serious things later. If you can, go out and play.


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