By Gabriela Olivas
“Tomorrow it might snow—I’m crossing my fingers,” I overhear in the halls. Students talk about classes possibly canceled for the day. I am excited: A day off would mean the world to us all. The daily life of a college student can be so filled with chaos, we forget what an unexpected day off to relax might mean.
On normal class days, students can be seen studying in the cafeteria, in the library, on the benches outside of classrooms before and between classes. Every minute is valuable to us. We try to finish as much as possible so we do not have to worry about it later.
Either that, or we leave it until the last possible moment because we cannot find it in us to begin and find ourselves with last-minute procrastination panic.
“If snow falls tomorrow, we will be able to get a break from the usual routine,” we hope as we check and double-check the weather apps on our phones.
In the early dawn, I peek through the blinds of the windows of my dorm in hopes that I will catch a glimpse of a white blanket covering the usual green or brown rocky ground. I want the desert plants and cacti utterly bathed in white powder. I want white light shining a reflection in the not-yet sunrise. Nothing yet. I shut the blinds and reset my alarm for class.
But I do not lose hope. I cannot sleep; I am too excited for what may come. My alarm goes off and I look through the blinds again, only to feel disappointment wash over me.
Sighing, I begin to get ready for the long day ahead of me. Just out of the shower, at 8:00 a.m., I receive a message from my friend telling me to look outside. Out of nowhere, the entire ground is covered entirely with snow!
It’s a snow day! It serves as a reminder that things can happen when we least expect them, I think. My phone blows up with messages from my friends telling me that their individual classes have been canceled.
“There are many class days, but snow days don’t come around very often,” my roommate notes.
But my classes have not been canceled! I keep refreshing my email only to read the same messages, none of which are from my professors. Unfortunately, none of my classes have been canceled just yet.
And then it happens. With a few minutes left before my first class begins, I receive the news that all classes are cancelled for the day. From the second floor of my dorm, I again look outside my window and see my friends already waiting for me, their hands open to the falling snow. As fast as I possibly can, I put on my coat and take my keys with me, running outside like a little kid.
Students are out in the circle. Everyone is a community of snowbirds for the day, chatting and playing around. Tomorrow, we may return to our shy and reticent selves, but, today, we are all the best of friends.
Some of us Lobos are seeing snow for the first time; others are so used to this finger-numbing weather they are not surprised at all. We sled down the hills. We build snowmen and give them their brief names before, like Frosty, they melt away. It is hard to believe we will barely need jackets the next day as we slip and fall, laughing and getting up again.
At the bottom of the hill, I watch as fellow students toss snowballs at their friends. I look up at the sky, and snowflakes fall onto my eyelashes.
And I think how my classmates remind me of snowflakes: none of us are exactly same, but neither are we so different at the end of a snowy day. I may not know them all; I may not know how cold this weather is to them or whether they prefer to drink coffee or tea, or neither. But, in this moment, I am so happy we are all here and that tomorrow I will be able to walk over footprints we leave behind on the day it snowed.
We may have lost a day of instruction, but we gained a perfect day of camaraderie.
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