Earlier this week, I will admit that I was among the many Pacific hopefuls that the miniscule amount of frozen precipitation Oregon calls “snowfall” would be enough to close campus, and more particularly, cancel classes. And while the snow did finally arrive, (more than some even expected) the bi-polar Oregon winter taunted students across the Northwest by melting it just as fast as it had came. Tough break for us, right?
While the eponymous “snow day” has been deep-rooted to be a joyous occasion for most youngsters without much responsibility, it’s important to note that the snow days of today are not the same as what we remember as children. What was before perhaps the closest thing one could get to a pause button on life – where time literally as well as figuratively is frozen solid – now brings with it just as much hassle as it does pleasure, facing us with the reality that our blizzard-wishing days may be over for good.
I don’t expect others to share the same sentiment, although it is interesting to gauge others’ enthusiasm towards snow. Here in the Northwest, our excitement tends to be rather short lived – as steep hills and Oregonians’ natural trepidation towards inclement weather driving usually make for a disastrous combination. However, those from hotter climates, such as California or Hawaii, may never see their first flake of snow until they reach Pacific, while others from, say, Colorado, Montana or Alaska care only enough to share with us stories of what life is like where there is “real snow.”
Regardless of where one hails from, last week’s storm was probably not the last opportunity to make snowmen and frolic in a winter wonderland. However, the days of doing so without consequence is something else.
When classes got cancelled in grade school it was no big deal. I remember countless times as a kid where I’d get up early, sit in front of the television and wait for my school district to show up with a nice “CANCELLED” next to it on the news ticker. For us, it meant a day of sledding, snowball fights and hot chocolate. For teachers, a day off. No harm. No foul. With the ill-funded education system in Oregon, it would probably just count towards an already planned day off for budget cuts. Yawn.
Today, it’s not so simple. Classes may get cancelled, but that doesn’t mean the workload stops there. In college, a missed class almost must be made up, and there are few exceptions. Depending on the class, this can become an exhausting process and is only compounded the longer campus remains closed. Perhaps not too daunting a concept for an FYS class, but missing a week of an important lab or upper-division course could spell catastrophe for a graduating senior.
Trust me, I love snow just as much or even more than anyone else on this campus, but I’ve also come to the realization that it may not always bring me the same excitement as it did when I was just minutes away from a toboggan ride down the nearby hill. Today it’s class, tomorrow it’s a job; who knows, maybe I’ll just work from home.