How to handle a snow day …

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By Darren Johnson
Campus News

Downstate colleges — along with Northern Jersey and Eastern New England — may be largely closed on Wednesday, March 21, due to a complete snowstorm that will hit just at the right time.

Now, your first inclination when a snow days occurs may be “YAH!,” but let’s think this through:

  • You, or at least your parents, are paying for these classes.
  • You may have to make up these classes in May, when the weather’s nice and you really just want to get on to your summer.
  • Your instructor still will expect you to do the work assigned. This isn’t high school; your independent research outside of class is what matters.

Now, the typical reaction to hearing about a snow day is to either go back to bed, or to lounge around, checking social media, maybe watching Netflix or Amazon Instant; in general, this is avoidance.

You should maximize your snow day by:

  • Checking all your course syllabi to see what’s due when and what reading you should be up to. Maybe read ahead. Add post-it notes on your textbook pages where you may have questions.
  • Check in with the professors. Send emails to make sure they know you’re still thinking about the subject matter.
  • Don’t assume your professors are just going to move your classes up a week. Cover all the material that was to be covered today, but also prepare for the next class.
  • Check out your LMS — Blackboard, Moodle, Angel, etc. Maybe your classmates are posting there.
  • Don’t assume your online classes are taking a break. The instructor could be based in Florida!

Now, you may be totally stressed out, and maybe you need a break. How about try these things?

  • Get some exercise. Either queue up an exercise video and work out in your home, or bundle up and go outside. Maybe shovel?
  • Read for pleasure. Try a book or a newspaper. Outside reading will make you a more well-rounded student.
  • Prepare for your next class. If it’s Thursday. Your next class may be tomorrow or Monday. Forget about today and get your books and materials in order for then. You’ll make that day less stressful by planning now.

Maybe take this time to contact loved ones. Perhaps that special someone. Not in a relationship? Maybe spend this time to update your online social media photos and writeups — make yourself more marketable for potential suitors. Or, no time for a relationship? Good thinking! Meditate, focus on YOU.

A snow day can be a wasted opportunity. Or it can be a blessing. Don’t bask too long in the “good news” of a canceled day. It will be over before you know it. Seize the day, get to know yourself, prioritize — and get ahead!

And that’s the last word … for now!

Darren Johnson has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature from Southampton College and currently teaches PR courses, when he isn’t running Campus News. Reach him at