Written by Helena Mazzarella
As snow began to fall Monday evening, students tried every ritual imaginable, hoping for a much-needed snow day. From inside-out pajamas to ice cubes down the toilet, we seriously tried everything. Alas, no matter the number of ice cubes you flushed down the toilet, the odds of having a snow day were slim to none.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused us all a great deal of stress this past year— we constantly worried about our loved ones, learned what it really meant to be alone, and spent hours teaching our parents how to use Zoom.
After converting to online classes this past March, students and professors became well versed in the wealth of advanced technology that lay at our fingertips. We learned that Zoom would automatically shut off after forty minutes. We learned to convert Google Docs to PDFs on Blackboard so our professors can actually read the work we spent hours laboring over. Most importantly, from numerous news reporters, we learned the importance of wearing pants even when you think only your head is on camera.
We also learned that few circumstances could physically prevent us from missing school. In quarantine? That’s okay; just jump on Zoom, Blackboard, Google Meet, or whichever platform your professor desires. Sick? Grab your favorite pair of sweats and jump back into bed with your computer. Classes have now become accessible in almost any situation.
So, as the temperature dropped and snow piled up to our knees, it was no surprise that classes remained in session. While some students trekked to in-person classes, many spent the day “isolated,” once again, taking classes from their bedroom.
It is impossible to argue there are no benefits to advanced technology. I could be writing this article on quilled paper with a feather pen. Instead, communication has become instantaneous; I typed some thoughts on my laptop, and a few moments later, you are reading this article on the 21st-century technology of your choosing.
On the other hand, what are we missing out on as a result of this advanced technology? Sure, there may no longer be a “need” for snow days. However, sometimes the most important lessons are not found in our textbooks. Finding the best household items to build a snowman instills creativity. Our sleds slowing down at the bottom of a hill is a physics lesson on kinetic friction. Having a snowball fight with your friends promotes teamwork and social skills— skills that are often lacking as we sit at home, alone, staring at our computer screens.
While we are incredibly fortunate to experience high-quality education, it is essential to remember the value of lessons that can be taught outside a textbook, the classroom, or your front door.