Residence hall students survive ‘cabin fever’

Valerie Melton

Bill Watterson, author of infamous Calvin and Hobbs comic strip, once said, “Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.”

If that statement is true, then the students of Missouri Southern hit the jackpot last week. While many students welcome the promise of winter flurries and the possibility of a day off, Mother Nature had something else in mind. It took her only one weekend to disable the campus for a week. It was ice, not snow, but Watterson had the sentiment right.

Yet with dangerous driving conditions, questionable dependence on electricity and hot water, and sheer boredom, Southern students managed to make it through what will undoubtly be remembered as one of the worst winter storms in University history.

Parking lots became ice rinks for cars, the sidewalks ice rinks for people and outdoor steps became a true test of one’s mountain climbing ability.

Kay Maric, freshman business major, fought the snow and ice with care and had “no intentions of frockling in it.”

Students reported cracking windshields, chipping paint off their cars and destroyed door handles and tires in a fit of frustration from being trapped on campus.

Megan Hudson, sophomore art major, found getting into her car was almost as difficult as digging it out.

“I had trouble even getting into my car,” she said. “The door handles and locks were so frozen that I couldn’t even get my key in the door.”

With thousands of residents within the University service area lacking power, rumors surfaced that Southern was included in the mix.

Josh Doak, resident housing director, said a lack of hot water in residence halls was not due to power shortages, but instead was linked to recurring problems with one of the boilers that was acting up even before the storm hit.

Doak was pleased with students’ behavior and the way they handled their time off from classes.

“We had few problems throughout the week,” he said. “It remained pretty quiet and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

“We did our best to reduce ‘cabin fever’ and opened the racquetball courts and gym a couple of hours every afternoon.”

Despite the efforts of Doak and others, some students saw the University response as tardy.

“I think it’s a smart thing they did (to cancel classes),” said Alexander Vassilev, xxxxxx xxxxxx major from Bulgaria. “But I think they should have done it earlier, when it was obvious that it wasn’t going to clear up.

“I knew on Monday there was no way it would be cleared by then.”