Prior to moving to the Midwest, I did not understand the difference between winter and the five degree temperature drop I experienced in California during the Christmas season. Because of my misunderstanding of what people meant by winter, I have been beaten down for three straight years. Here are some of the highlights:
1. Hearing from my mechanic that I needed to wait for my parking brake to “thaw”
2. Walking from Hills to Snow in -18 wind chill with just sweats and slippers on
3. Wearing the 8-feet-long scarf my mom made me to “keep me extra warm”
4. Assuming I would just do all my homework during the Snow Day
5. Opting to wear dirty laundry instead of braving the cold
6. Walking out one morning with wet hair from my shower to then have my hair freeze
Before I came to SNU, I had spent time in the snow, but I had never experienced winter. Winter is novel at first: you see the snow and have snow days, which is exciting, but the novelty wears off about the moment you realize that leaving campus requires scraping your window. This also means waiting for the defroster to melt the two inches of ice which slabbed to your driver window during the previous night’s freezing rain.
Do I sound bitter? If at any point I have sounded like a whiney brat, it is only because previously I could throw on shorts and jump in my car 10 minutes before the first period bell rang and be on time to school. Now, it takes me about that long to decide whether or not my long johns are necessary given my expected travel time to and from class on a given day, combined with the wind chill adjusted temperature. By this time, I am already three minutes late to class, exhausted from the difficult math and irritated because Zach Allen jogged past me on the way to Herrick in just running shorts and a hat. To save you time and pain, I will provide anyone interested with my winter cheat sheet:
1. If you own a rear-wheel drive car, sell it. You are better off walking.
2. Someone is always waiting to say “It’s not even that cold,” so don’t make your pain known.
3. Wear warm socks!
4. No one gets homework done on snow days; not even 4.0 bio-chem majors.
5. Make sure your clothes don’t just look warm; the three compliments you get on your cute jacket just before chapel are not worth losing fingers to hypothermia.
6. When in doubt, remember: Netflix is always there and your bed is always warmer than class. (Just kidding; go to class.)
Learning what winter really is has changed the way I see the world. I no longer frantically search for a sweater when it drops below 65. On a serious note, I am thankful I came to SNU and have gotten to experience a real winter. Winter has birthed some of my fondest college memories, such as staying up with friends until 2 a.m. procrastinating homework and speculating whether or not we would have a snow day, or the time Katie Cosper, much to my dismay, decided to launch herself off a ramp and down a hill riding on the back of a rusty old shopping cart.
Although I am not advocating that anyone get caught up in mischief and do something potentially life threatening, I do hope that people can get to experience the joy I have found in feeling the warmth of friends all enjoying winter together.