Much can be said to disparage Connecticut winters: the bitterly cold mornings, dreary afternoons, and dark evenings make for an unpleasant combination. But every year, to the delight of Wilton students, one pleasant surprise presents itself: snow. At the sight of a promising snowflake icon marking an upcoming date on the Weather app, students like me quickly load up Snow Day Calculator on their phones in hopeful anticipation of a relaxing day off. Of course, there are always those who resent the excessive school cancellations due to the weather, dreading any infringement on their summer plans. Though it always comes back to bite me when I’m forced to show up at Wilton High School in late June, I still relish every unexpected mini-vacation the snow grants me. To me, trading even one freezing cold walk from the parking lot to the high school entrance for a hot-weather school day makes the snow day hassle worthwhile.
This school year, however, is different from the rest in that I can be sure the snow days won’t eat into my summer break. As a senior, I’ll be going on internship in May, no matter how much chaos the weather causes in the winter. I can spend my snow days cheerfully watching movies and baking cookies, free of worry about their implications for the rest of year. When the holiday break ended a few weeks ago, I thought dreamily of the winter storms I was sure would arrive within the month as I recalled the multiple snow days students enjoyed last January.
But alas, every snowflake icon in the forecast became a “Wintry Mix” of rain and snow as the day came closer, finally turning into just a pitiful raindrop. Storm warnings brought a fair share of hype around the school that gave way to paralyzing disappointment as Wilton woke up to a mere dusting of white powder on the ground. How fitting, I thought sarcastically, that this particular year would bring such little snow.
Perhaps February and March will herald the plethora of school cancellations I’ve been hoping for; after all, the snow storms last year certainly didn’t end in January. But I’m beginning to realize that in my obsession with checking the weather these last few weeks, I haven’t noticed how fast the school year is slipping away, even without extensive days off. I’ve spent every month since school started in anticipation of something or other, whether it was a grade on a big test or essay, a holiday recess, or a college decision. In my impatience, I’ve rarely paused to do anything other than complain about my frigid morning walk into the WHS building and the endless homework assignments that take up my afternoons. It’s humbling to think that next year, when I’m introduced to an entirely different school routine, I’ll miss the familiar, sometimes monotonous pattern of my days at WHS.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ll still welcome any possible snow day with open arms, happily snuggling in bed with a cup of tea and Netflix at the ready. But when my classmates and I start thinking about our summer plans, purchasing senior prom outfits and counting down the days until internship, I’m sure the finality of everything will fully hit me, and I’ll cherish the last few school days I have with peers whom I’ve known for over a decade. Next year, when I undoubtedly meet people from warmer areas who have never experienced a snow day in their lives — or perhaps haven’t even seen snow — I’ll appreciate my Northeast childhood. Despite the cold, I’ll have warm memories of growing up here.
Chloe Mandel is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.