Most students would probably be enthused over missing half a week of class due to snow. Yet, after day seven of being stuck in an odd-smelling, increasingly cramped hotel room in Boston, I was looking forward toward nothing less than being back. By Tuesday the 17th of February, I, along with 14 other McDaniel students, had been in Boston for over a week. At first we had been participating in the 2015 Harvard Model United Nations simulation; later in our trip, we had become stranded student survivors of a super-sized snowstorm. Our flight back to Maryland was scheduled for a Sunday. Mother Nature had decided to drop more than 8 inches on Boston that Saturday. We wouldn’t be sleeping in the comfort of our own beds until the early morning of Wednesday.
Money had quickly run out. Boston is by no means a cheap city. Think 4 dollars for a piece of toast expensive. I’m speaking from experience here (avoid the sports bars). I watched, hopelessly, as the savings in my bank account were cut clearly in half over the span of my stay. The wi-fi in the hotel was limited, so limited that many of us couldn’t complete or access our school assignments. And streaming Netflix during those long, boring days in the hotel? Don’t even think about it. Laundry was out of the question, for the hotel wasn’t providing laundry services, and there was no way we could make a 7-block trek to the nearest Laundromat in blizzard conditions. Perhaps Junior Bilal Ali, a student on the trip, best summed up not only the laundry, but the entire experience, when he said, to a reporter at the Boston Globe, that “it stinks.”
However, to say all of this perhaps makes us seem like entitled twerps. That’s how some Boston residents felt about our story, which they made clear in the Boston Globe article’s comments section. To be fair, our struggle was, in the grand scheme of things, a minimal affair. Boston residents have been suffering through relentless snow for over a month. We’re lucky here in Maryland that 3 inches of snow constitute a freak-out response. Yet, for those of us in Boston, our struggle was real enough. Nobody expects to be stuck in a hotel room past their expected date of departure. Nobody wants to deal with a lack of money, inability to access homework, distance from friends and family, smelly clothes, or the cabin fever (hotel fever?) that eventually settles in.
Of course, in some ways, being snowed in at Boston was a blessing in disguise. It gave us the opportunity to explore an incredible city, an opportunity we would have otherwise missed. It provided us the time to connect with students from all over the globe, to make foreign connections, and to learn a little bit more about the world in which we live. Most importantly to me, it gave us the chance to get closer with each other, to develop stronger friendships, and to laugh by blowing the significance of an inconvenient trip delay wildly out of proportion. Perhaps Bilal was right in that our being snowed in “stinks.” But, Bilal, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.