While the rest of Atlanta was stuck on the freeway or desperately trying to warm up from their long hikes home, many Tech students were safe in their dorm rooms enjoying nearly a week of ffrom school.
With snow and ice piled up from Techwood to Ferst to Hemphill, getting to class would have been impossible for many students.
As the snow fell heavily on the morning on Tuesday, Jan. 28, it became obvious that campus would have to close that afternoon.
Snow Jam 2014 is not the first time in recent years Tech has been forced to close due to wintry weather. In 2011, classes closed for four days during the Snowpocalypse. Then, although roads on campus became relatively clear within days of the storm, the roads just off campus were still impassable, making it difficult for campus to open.
Since 2011, Tech’s Emergency Preparedness department has helped Tech better prepare for winter weather. With less worry over safety, many students were able to enjoy their unexpected second winter break.
“It was almost magical, walking back from a noon lecture and hearing that the struggle was, at least temporarily, over: Tech was on snow break until further notice,” said Joshua Wade, second-year ME major.
Many students could be found tromping through snow-covered Grant Field, sledding through the Burger Bowl, starting snowball fights throughout campus or even four-wheeling through Midtown Atlanta.
Some students, however, found the snow a short-lived thrill.
“The snow wasn’t that great after Tuesday. I enjoyed taking pictures while the snow was falling down… I’ve now officially had my fill of snow for the next year,” said Andrea Latimer, second-year BIO major.
John Forbes, a third-year AE major, was especially irritated with the record-breaking weather.
“The cold front rolled into Atlanta and went straight for my immune system. Being taken by storm, my nose iced over and a headache like constant brain freeze settled in, but I had warm soup to thaw my aching head,” Forbes said.
Even more, students who tried to drive home during the Snow Jam experienced incredibly long commutes. The 2.6 inches of snow caused cars to drive at a break-neck speed of less than five miles per hour.
Latimer claimed her commute, which should have taken five minutes, took over an hour. According to students who lived even further from campus, just getting off campus added an hour or two to an eventual five–to-ten-hour commute.
Even some students who stayed on campus found the snowstorm tiresome after the first day or two. As the snow became slushier, students went in search of available food and campus services with little luck. While a few dining halls were open during selected hours, most of campus was completely closed.
Also, as many students know, a break from Tech is not really a break. There was still homework to do and tests to study for. Because so many classes had to be cancelled, the rearranged schedules and syllabi caused the following week to have an extra-burdensome workload.
While the rest of the country is still battling with winter storms, for now, Atlanta is once again safe. Snow Jam gave students a much-needed break from tests, a much-deserved chance to binge drink hot cocoa and frolic through the snow.