TOWSON, Md. - Allison Gibson and her roommates knew what was coming.
On a Wednesday night normally loaded with homework, meteorologists were expecting a winter storm similar to 2010’s “Snowmageddon" and the University of Maryland, College Park was bound to close.
By 3 p.m., the text alerts and emails reached students. Campus would close at 7 p.m. and remain closed through Thursday. The snow day was official.
Colleges across Maryland closed last Thursday, urging students to stay warm and off campus. On snow days, many college students choose to stay warm by “day-drinking,” where they rode out the storm with friends and drank alcohol. But for some students, the snow inspired different plans.
Gibson said she and her roommates didn’t consider a grocery run before the storm, which dropped 8.5 inches of snow on College Park. Gibson just had half a block of brie cheese, pico de gallo, strawberries and chocolate chips.
A snowstorm the day before Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect opportunity to make chocolate-covered strawberries.
“We got chocolate everywhere. We probably would have made less of a mess day-drinking,” Gibson said.
Teri Hall, associate vice president of campus life at Towson University, said snow days present options for everyone, like catching up on homework indoors or tapping into your inner child outdoors.
“A chance to play outside, watch movies, curl up with a good book or get into some good clean mischief,” Hall said. “Our hope would be that students enjoy their ‘found time’ in ways that are not destructive or harmful to themselves or others.”
The snowfall in Towson topped 18 inches and trapped cars in parking lots. Chandler Davis, 21, and her two roommates watched one man use a baking sheet to shovel out his car.
Unlike Gibson, any food in Davis’s apartment looked unappetizing. Driving anywhere would be a feat. Walking a half-mile to Taco Bell for loaded grillers and crunch wrap supremes? An equal feat for Davis and her roommates, but they made it. The Towson seniors even discovered a pile of cardboard boxes on the trek home.
“We each took a piece of cardboard and brought them to the top of a small hill. We only sled about two inches at a time, but it was a blast,” Davis said.
Despite canceled classes, some students still had to work from home.
Alex Nearey, 21, is a customer service intern at a healthcare software company near Towson’s campus. On his snow day, he was still listening to office voicemails and answering emails.
“Otherwise I would have slept in and watched random stuff on the Internet,” Nearey said.
That’s how Jessica Miller, 18, spent her snow day. A freshman at Towson, she indulged in a Netflix binge of "One Tree Hill" in her dorm room when she wasn’t catching up on sleep.
“I didn’t play in the snow because I didn’t have the right clothes, so I stayed inside and cuddled with friends to stay warm,” Miller said.
No matter how students chose to spend their snow day in Maryland, one sentiment was shared: Snow made for a welcome break from attending college classes.
“Everyone was stuck inside, so I had easy access to all of my friends,” Gibson said. “We could all just hang out and be kids for a few hours. We didn't have pressing obligations or anything to worry about.”