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Snowed in at the Dorm: What to Do When You're Stuck

Updated on January 5, 2012

It's that time of year again (traditionally, but when has weather ever adhered to tradition?) when the flakes start to fall and mount up along the streets and sidewalks. At worst, you may be confined to where you are on campus (hopefully your dorm) and may have to cancel any plans you had of going out. Depending on the occasion, all may not be lost yet. Just play it safe and follow these suggestions.

One year, on the last day of classes before spring break, my area got by a blizzard and we had to rush to leave earlier than planned. Some got stuck, and others almost didn't make it. Whether you are able to leave or not, please consider the safety of yourself and others first. If you're told to stay put, stay put and wait out the storm until the roads are cleared. If you find that you can get out in time, please proceed with caution. Make sure you have packed everything you need and either drive safely or get a ride with someone who is a reliable driver. In the event that you must remain behind, be sure to have a working flashlight, warm blankets, and snacks that you don't have to heat up in order to eat. Use the stairs in case the electricity goes out so as not to risk getting stuck in an elevator.

Earlier that same year, a blizzard hit on Valentine's Day, and we were advised to stay indoors. If you have plans to go out and such a storm causes them to be cancelled, you will have to think of something else to do. Don't try to brave the storm if it poses a danger to your safety or health. In a best-case scenario, the person you had plans with might live in the same building as you; if so, then you can alter your activities and do something together in one room or another. If not, then I suppose you'll have to use video chat or email or even a phone call depending on what technology you have at your disposal provided the electricity remains on.

If the only plans that got cancelled were your classes, however, then this would be a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your roommates (with whom you hopefully share a sense of kinship). You can watch TV together or play different games together. A game that has grown in popularity over the years is Apples to Apples, and I would highly recommend it. My friends and I also used to play the captions game, but whatever game is more the speed for your particular crowd will do. Movie marathons as well as impromptu video game tournaments are also viable options for those in for a long stay. In the event that your floor's resident adviser tries to get everyone together for a party in the common room, you could attend that as well if you were so willing. Whatever you decide to do, avoid going stir-crazy (kind of impossible to do considering roommates get on each other's nerves by the end of a semester, but a snow day usually puts people in a cheerier mood, especially when you don't have the responsibility of shoveling snow). When all else fails, a brief lapse into hibernation may be just what you need to make it through.


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