Snow Days: Is Leisure a Virtue?

by Eileen Corkery


“BC Weather Alert. Because of the storm forecast, Boston College will be closed tomorrow, March 14th.” A little after 10:30pm, screams and cheers echoed across Upper Campus as students received the coveted snow day text from the Office of Emergency Management. Homework was thrown aside and quickly forgotten in the Cheverus Hall lounge. In Kostka Hall, freshman girls danced in the hallway. Meanwhile on Lower Campus, celebrations commenced in the mods.


There are two prevailing attitudes taken towards snow days by students. On one hand, snow days are an opportunity for extra study time—stolen time to prepare for a midterm, finish that reading from last week, and perhaps even get ahead on upcoming work. On the other hand, snow days are a chance to catch up on sleep, enjoy one another’s company, and take a brief intermission from the commotion of life.


Looking at the day through the lens of faith, is there a certain virtue to taking a day for leisure? Or is unnecessary leisure a vice? Slothish, perhaps? The Torch recently interviewed students to get their take on the matter and see how they spent their snow days.


One sophomore said that she “definitely viewed the snow day as an opportunity for work.” For her, leisure only is virtuous if it is purposeful: “There's a value to intentional leisure. I think sitting around on my phone is leisurely, but not valuable because I am not resting my mind and also not doing anything productive with it.”


Another sophomore agreed, saying, “I knew that I couldn’t waste my snow day on a full day of rest. The time was valuable to catch up impending assignments and alleviate the burden of the foreseeable week. I utilized the snow day to power through accounting and computer science problem sets, and to write a reflection on the Examen for my theology class.” He added that “leisure should be taken in moderation…. if planned correctly, leisure should be a component of our everyday experience, not just on snow days.”


On the other hand, one senior answered that she enjoyed the unique pause offered by the snow day. “For me, it was a day for rest, not work,” she answered. “It’s grounded in my elementary school concept of a snow day being a family day where we drank hot chocolate and played in the snow. Most vividly, I remember wearing our pajamas under our snowsuits for maximum coziness. Snow days have always seemed like ‘bonus days’ to do nothing.”


Similarly, one graduate student said that he felt like he was “given an extra day of life.” Having grown up in an area without snow, he admired the carefree attitude on campus. “Everyone just seemed so much more alive and joyful.”


Finally, one freshman answered that she enjoyed the snow day because the pause forced her to recognize all the “good” things she has encountered at BC this year. “Without classes, I was able to enjoy time with my friends, build a snowman, and notice the beauty around campus. During the week, I am too busy to appreciate my surroundings or spend quality time with my friends.”


Whether their time was spent on homework or on snowball fights, students were united in their appreciation for the day.

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