12 Things College Students Can Do When Campus is Closed

So the White Witch is at it again. Your area is being hit with a Nor'easter the likes which you have never seen before. You're buried in ten feet of snow. Your college campus is closed classes are canceled. With all this excitement and jubiliation, you might be asking yourself: what do I do now? 

Conventional wisdom says "Stay in. Be warm. Be safe." For the average college student, that translates to "sleep, baby sleep." Nonsense. All that might work for grandmas and snowflakes, but not for you. You are a college student and you are invincible. So this is the time for adventure, not Netflix. 

Here are few things you can do to make this rare opportunity more adventurous and fun.

Jack Nicholson in  The Shining

Jack Nicholson in The Shining

  1. First of all, get out of bed. That might seem silly. But for the average late teen, twenty something college student, "sleep until I can't hold it any longer" is the go-to response whenever the opportunity affords itself. Look, you can sleep in the grave. Get out of bed and do something. 
  2. Find the nearest cafeteria on your campus and Eat Bacon. That's right, eat Bacon, and a lot of it. You're going to need as much protein as you can stuff into your body. And don't worry about the health hazards of too much bacon. Classes are canceled and the college is closed. Live a little.
  3. Put on some winter clothes. Yes, I know college students have the metabolism rate of a hamster on a running wheel; but no, as tempted as you might be on this one, you can't walk around campus in your PJ shorts and flip flops. Come on people!! There's ten feet of snow on the ground. Get dressed. Snow pants, gloves, long undies, a hat and whatever else you need.
  4. Now, exercise. Go find someone to help. Yeah, that's right. Help the grandmas and snowflakes dig out. Forget about stranger danger, just go to a house near the campus and start shoveling. You will likely meet someone new or you might see a campus employee (perhaps your economics prof) in a "context" "different" from the classroom (a great snapchat opportunity). Either way, you are likely have an instant new friend who might feed you more bacon. And you will be doing something nice for someone else. Take a chance. Just do it.
  5. Alternatively, go looking for your campus facilities people and see if you can help them. Wow, mind blown, right? Despite campus myths, facilities people are nice, hard working men and women that often go under appreciated by the student body (you know what I'm talking about). See if you can help them do some shoveling, salting, anything that might make there job easier.
  6. By now it is probably lunchtime. Please see suggestion 2.
  7. So you have done your good deeds for the day. What's left? Well, there's 10 feet of snow on the ground. So grab some buddies, find an area in the woods and build a quinzee hut. This is a survival hut that you make in the snow. They are awesome. If you're really brave, build it and sleep there overnight (ok, just kidding on that). Look, it's not a question of if the zombie apolocapse will happen; it's when. So be prepared. Practice your survival skills and have some fun doing it. Ask student services to lead a seminar in how to build a Quinzee. And if they look at you like you're Jack Nicholson in The Shining just Youtube it for instructions or go find a couple of Eagle Scouts to help you.
  8. Play Monopoly. NO, NO, NO and again NO!
  9. How about some sledding. If you are going to do this, you need to be a bit more adventurous. Every town has a legendary hill, affectionately known as "The Hill of Death." Find that hill and go sledding. I live near Mendon Ponds Park in upstate NY and we have a massive "Hill of Death" there. No one cares about the "No Sledding" signs posted all over the area. I don't think anyone has died; but I have seen Medevac helocopters fly in to take injured sledders away. That's the place to be. That sledding scene in A Christmas Vacation? Yeah, like that!
  10. Take a hike. If you aren't into Quinzee building or sledding, how about going on a hike? Ask student services to borrow some snow shoes (what are those student fees used for anyway?) and just go for a long walk in the woods. Make sure you take some water (hydration is important) and a flare gun in case you get lost. But seriously, there's nothing better than a winter hike with your buddies.
  11. Snowball dodgeball. On my campus, students play a game called "Elimination" that involves tagging people with water guns over a period of several weeks. The only rule is that this "tagging" can't happen in classroom or administrative buildings. Students love it. The last person standing wins. Why not take this outdoors and instead of using squirt guns, how about snow balls? The hiding places are endless. You won't die. Well, you probably won't die.
  12. Have a campfire. They said, "stay warm," right? What better way to do that than with a fun winter campfire and maybe some s'mores and hot chocolate to go along with it. Find a spot used for this (most parks have fire rings. Even some campuses have designated spots for this sort of thing). I suppose I should be responsible and say "check with the authorites about this." But grab some buddies and enjoy an hour or two around a winter campfire. You won't regret it.

So there are lots of things you can do to make this day an adventure. Don't just sit inside reading books, doing homework, writing papers. This is a time for adventure and fun. 

Disclamer: The author absolves himself from any liability related to possible negative consequences from these suggestions. Now, get out there and live a little.