Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

A Southerner’s Guide to Winter

Madeleine Thompson
November 17, 2014

WINTER IS COMING HERE. As of this morning, the first snow has fallen on the Hill, and it’s beautiful and perfect and it makes everything okay. I already got a Facebook invitation to a snowball fight on Ransom Lawn. Plus, Peirce’s famed “Peircegiving” holiday meal is happening on Tuesday and everyone is really excited. Seriously, people start looking forward to it as soon as Halloween is over.

Anyway, this is a weather post. It’s everybody’s favorite thing to talk about because — and I’m not going to hold back on this one — winter sucks. It’s the worst. I hate it. Disclaimer: I am from Atlanta, and yeah okay I’m a little bit of a wuss when it comes to being cold. I’ve never liked it all that much, though I am a fan of cozy sweaters and staying inside and I really, really love snow. Ohio, however, is a whole other world when the winter months descend. For Christmas my senior year of high school, I got hardcore snow boots, a puffy comforter and ear muffs, and I was all, “Haha, very funny everyone, seriously it’ll be fine” until I actually experienced February here and it nearly crushed my soul. What they say about winter is true: bad moods are contagious, and the sun never shows its face. Ugh.

It’s possible I might be exaggerating just a little bit here, but my point is this: It’s tough, but if I can do it, so can you. It also says a lot about Kenyon that I love it here even though half the school year is shivery and gross. In this post I’ve collected some tips I’ve learned about how to keep your body and soul warm from approximately now until March. Good luck out there, kids.

  • Get a warm coat. Like a real, intense, polar-tech-whatever coat. I got this one or a very similar one two years ago, and it has been a true friend to me each winter. It’s pretty expensive, but I promise you it will be worth it when you don’t have to stack on six layers every time you leave your room and then spend just as long stripping them off when you get to class. Also, make sure your top layer is waterproof, because there is nothing worse than being cold and wet. I can’t stress this enough.

  • Get warm boots. See above. I have “light” winter boots (of the L.L. Bean variety) in addition to my hardcore ones (which are Sorels) because the hardcore ones are, like, really heavy and make my feet sweat. I am a high-maintenance princess, but you can’t say I’m not prepared.

  • Do fun snow things! Like sledding and making snow angels and drinking excessive amounts of hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music. These are all things you can get away with only during this one season, and they should be fully taken advantage of. Freshman year, my Quest for Justice professor told us we could borrow her sleds that she would leave outside her door for us, and I went sledding and made snow slushies with two friends. In retrospect, the snow slushies were probably not a genius idea.

  • If you have a car, take care of it. Drive it at least once a week and get one of those long ice scrapers that reaches all the way across your car and has a little broom on the other end. My friends all laughed really hard when I went to scrape the ice and snow off my car with a credit card last year, so I bought a real ice scraper ASAP. I’d also see if you can get all-weather tires if you don’t have four-wheel drive, because not everyone knows how to drive in snow and ice. (For example, every single person in the South.) I don’t actually have all-weather tires, but my northern friends do and I usually make them drive me places. I spun out once on the way back to Kenyon from Columbus and it was truly terrifying, so just generally be careful out there.

  • Lastly, make an effort to a) get outside and b) have a positive attitude. You’ll go crazy cooped up in your room or in the classroom all day, so don’t be afraid to layer up and go for a run or walk all the way across campus to that party even though it’s freezing. Feel free to complain a lot if that helps — that’s what I do. But most importantly, if you choose to be excited and childishly delighted by the snowmen and hot warm drinks and scarves, I promise you you’ll be better off.