Experiencing Cold Weather and Cancelled Classes

“Stay inside,” my mother said. A few hours after the phone call, I would be doing the exact opposite.

On Tuesday, the call for school to be closed was deafening. There had already been an order made by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that declared Michigan in a state of emergency due to predicted sub-zero temperatures. Throughout the day, universities across the Midwest cancelled Wednesday’s classes in anticipation for the dangerously cold weather. Even MSU suspended classes for only the 7th time in history. For U of M students, pages such as “Overheard at Umich” and “UMich Memes for Wolverteens” were teeming with memes and comments made by students across campus asking for no school. In addition, students created a petition to cancel classes that reached over 13,000 signatures in a matter of days.

Fortunately, classes were indeed cancelled and the campus “issued an emergency reduction in operations” until 7 a.m. Friday. For middle and high school students across Michigan, snow days are a fairly common occurrence across Michigan. For college students, on the other hand, a snow day is a rarity. So what does one do when it’s so cold classes are cancelled?

For many students, the two days of cancelled classes provided time to study or relax. There was still work to be done for courses, and a day or two stuck inside provided optimal time to catch up or get ahead on schoolwork. The Wednesday and Thursday off also gave students some time to sleep in and recuperate. When not filled with people studying, the dormitory lounges were frequently filled with students watching movies, playing games, or simply hanging out. For me, the two days with no classes provided an opportunity to do all of these things. There was time to do some work without feeling stressed, and I enjoyed sleeping in. Yet, in addition to these things, I ventured outside the safety of my dormitory and into the bitter cold.

Now, this wasn’t a “I’m going to disregard any warnings because I can” decision. On Wednesday, the Michigan Theater played Your Name as part of the “Icons of Anime Film Series” sponsored by the UM Center for Japanese Studies. The screening was originally sold out and going to take place at the State Theater, but due to popular demand was moved to the Michigan Theater. This discovery, in addition to prior commitments being cancelled due to the weather, resulted in a quick decision to have a night out.

Despite the wind chill warning, my boyfriend and I left East Quad shortly around 6:45 p.m. Bundled in layers, the brisk walk to Michigan Theater wasn’t that bad. We took pictures of an empty diag with snapchat filters reading -11°F, and made it to the theater to find plenty of other students who had braved the arctic temps. So many, in fact, that the lower section of the theater’s main auditorium was pretty packed. After seeing the movie, which was captivating and breathtakingly beautiful, I could see why.

Since the dining hall would be closed by the time we got back (closing early due to the weather), we also stopped by a restaurant for dinner. The ten-minute walk back to East Quad, while just a few degrees colder at -15°F, was harsher. Thick wool socks were no match for the freezing winds. Literal frost coated my glasses, and ice droplets twinkled on my boyfriend’s eyelashes. We passed by a few people with no hats or scarves and wondered how they were surviving.

Back at the dormitory, hand warmers and blankets were quick to the rescue. It was so cold, however, that there was ice and frost on the inside of the windows. This only magnified the severity of what was happening across the Midwest, and the relief for students that classes were cancelled. Overall, while the night out was enjoyable, you can bet we stayed in on Thursday.


Links to further details on information noted in this post:

More information on U of M’s reduced operations.

News on the cold weather and its impact on the Midwest.

The petition calling administration to cancel classes.

What to do on a snowday?

Once the University of Michigan cancelling classes for two days in a row, I thought to myself “Hooray!  I’m going to catch up on sleep for the next two days!” Then I tried to remember what I did on snow days during elementary and high school.  I would play outside for the day, or have friends over to play inside. So I decided that maybe instead of sleeping for the next two days I could do something else.  So here is a list of things that I might do during our snow-days.

Movie Marathons!  I am a huge fan of movies, my favorite genres are romcoms, sci-fi, and thrillers.  When creating a movie marathon you have the choice of watching a bunch or random movies, movies with the same theme, or a movie series.  Watching random movies is good so that you do not get too bored when watching a couple movies in one sitting. This way you can laugh, cry, and get scared in one day; which can be more exciting.  Watching movies from the same genre, or with the same theme can give you an extra dose of whatever feeling you want. Watching a movie series gives you purpose when you are sitting watching a movie, because you now have to finish the series.  I personally like watching movie series. You can always re-watch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.

Read!  As a college student, I never do any reading for pleasure during the school year because I am constantly reading for my classes.  Taking two days to start and possibly finish a book that has been sitting unread in my bookshelf would be great. Cold weather is also the perfect reading conditions because then you are incentivized to sit in a chair curled up with a blanket and a book and are able to read for hours.  It’s also nice when you are sitting by a window that brings in natural light and so that you can look outside but you do not have to go outside.

Game night!  The last activity is better if there is someone else with you.  A game night or afternoon is always fun and relaxing, depending on the game.  I used to play a lot of board games growing up with my family, and I have not played them much since going to college.  I love when an opportunity comes up and I can play them again. The best games to play during snow days are games that take a long time because you have all of the time in the world.  I personally like to play Risk when I have a couple of hours to spend on a game.

The Art of The Snow Day Movie Marathon

Do you hear that? It’s the triumphant cries of students everywhere rejoicing in the luck of it being 2014. What’s that? A Snow Day in Michigan? Has there ever been a more perfect time?

With all this time on your hands, dear students, I impart to you the knowledge of my vast and ever-growing movie collection, so that you too may reap the benefits of not having class today in the form of a movie marathon.

And so, for this January 28th, in the year 2014, I present to you, my Top 10 Movies To Watch When You Have A Snow Day

1. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Okay, you should have seen this one coming from a mile away. And if you haven’t seen this movie yet, PLEASE take this excuse to watch it RIGHT NOW. In short, Ferris is taking a day off – so you should do yourself a favor and take one too.

2. Stardust

Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to the response of “What’s Stardust?” whenever I mention this movie. A hidden gem, Stardust is a movie based on a book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. A fantasy following the story of a man traveling to “catch” a fallen star who happens to be a beautiful girl named Yvaine, this movie is a must see, and is the perfect balance of action, comedy, and romance that will fill you with warmth as you wrap up in a blanket on your bed.

3. How To Train Your Dragon

And unlike the movie previous, almost everyone I know has heard of this installment of the colloquially known “Big Four” But honestly, I can’t get past how amazingly written and heartfelt this movie is. A coming of age story with the enjoyable twist of a puppy-dog like dragon, I love this movie for its inexplicable wit and ambitious but oh so totally worth it plot line. This movie is a modern classic in the realm of animation, and is a highly enjoyable movie for any age.

4. Dan In Real Life

As a sophomore, I decided to embroider my letterman with a quote from this movie. I received much criticism, as the line is kitschy, but in context, it fits perfectly. At the end of the movie, middle-aged father Dan tells the readers of his column to “Plan To Be Surprised”, and heeds his own advice as he falls in love for the first time since becoming a widower. This offbeat rom-com will surprise you with how much it doesn’t feel like a rom, and is the perfect way for the ladies to get their dose of romance while guys enjoy the comedic styling of comedians such as Steve Carell, Dane Cook, and the ever great John Mahoney.

5. Push

Another movie that you may not have heard of, Push is an action-adventure set on the streets of Hong Kong. Fast paced with action around every corner, this movie will surprise you with its slightly complex plot. While not a masterpiece such as Inception, the plot contains more than your usual Michael Bay-type fare, and will leave you satisfied but curious as to where the plot could go.

6. Easy A

Another rom-com that’s heavy on the comedy, I watched Easy A for the first time in a while last night in my room with my friends. As I watched, I was reminded of how bland the plot could have been – but how amazingly executed the movie was. The perfectly balanced dialogue contained a heavy dose of sarcasm mixed with a realism that stayed true to high school teenagers, and the delivery by the now-famous Emma Stone never faltered. She was able to portray a female lead that wasn’t strong in her sassiness but in the choices she made, never second guessing or wavering in them, and sticking through her “business” to the end. I was struck by how well made the movie was, and so this movie makes my list as something to dig out of your 2010 pile to re-watch.

7. Meet The Robinsons

I seem to be alternating between well-known and what is THAT? but nevertheless Meet the Robinsons  is one of my favorite, underrated Disney movies. Disney takes the tired trope of time traveling and adds a bit of Disney magic, and you get this movie, which was made as a homage to Walt Disney himself and his ever present theme of innovation, showcased primarily in his creation of the Tommorrowland section of Disneyland. This movie surprised me in how enjoyable it was, even though I didn’t watch it till I was 16 or 17 years old. It’s worth a shot, and you won’t regret it.

8. Take The Lead

One of the more serious movies on this list, Take The Lead is another must see. Based on a true story, it details the life of Pierre Dulaine, played by Antonio Banderas, a man who decides to implement ballroom dancing lessons in the detention hall of one inner-city New York public school. It deals with the harsh topics of racism, classism, and how these things affect the real lives of the teens that have to live with it every day. While somewhat heavy, this movie is a must see because of the way it gracefully navigates these subjects while simultaneously delivering an satisfying plot that leaves you cheering for the underdogs.

9. (500) Days of Summer

My final rom-com that differs in its emphasis on the romance, I absolutely love this movie. Maybe the fact that I got it for Christmas but accidentally left it back in Houston made me put it on this list. Nevertheless, if you’re going to watch a romance, go big or go home, and watch as Joseph Gordon-Levitt tries to navigate a relationship with the ever elusive Summer.

10. The Princess Bride

And finally, I had to end with a classic. One of my favorite movies of all time, The Princess Bride just makes you feel good, even when it’s 30 below outside. It has an air of timelessness that can’t be found today, and that’s why this movie wraps up my list.

So there you have it. 10 movies for you to choose from on your day off. Watch one, watch none, watch all, but please, take this day to watch something. After all, snow days only come once every 36 years.