Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

How to survive winter in the 'bier (and have fun along the way)

Susannah Green
January 19, 2013

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Gambier, OH gets pretty bleak from late January to early March. Freezing temperatures, limited sunlight, and an unvaryingly gray sky tend to weaken all but the strongest morale. The good news is that every one gets through it, and with the right attitude and a little creativity, you can not only live to tell the tale but actually enjoy yourself along the way. Read on for four foolproof tips on making the most of your wintertime experience in the 'bier.

1) Stay active

It's easy to write off the need for exercise when it's 2 degrees out and you're bundled from head to toe in body-obscuring layers. Why embark on a treacherous, ice-covered journey to the KAC when you could just kick back and relax with some emotional 90's television on Netflix*? While I highly recommend an afternoon of hot chocolate and Dawson's crying face, an occasional endorphins kick is the perfect antidote to the wintertime gloom that is Kenyon in February. Find a regular workout buddy who will keep you honest, and feel free to treat yo self with a smoothie or some pita chips afterwards. I'm not talking marathon training, I'm proposing maybe three to four low key visits a week. Yoga, elliptical, tennis, swimming--whatever your heart desires. But srsly, your heart will thank you. 

*this is an actual category Netflix created for me

2) Invest in a coffee machine or an electric kettle

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Rousing yourself from the warm cocoon of your bed at 8:00 am is approximately 10,000 times more difficult when all that awaits you is a 10 degree high and an econ lecture. Instant access to hot chocolate/coffee makes the whole thing a lot more bearable. Feel free to keep whipped cream, marshmallows, and copious amounts of sugar on hand. You’re braving rural Ohio—you deserve all the artificial sweeteners you can get.

3) Have fun with winter accessories

As noted, winter at Kenyon is a time of layering and unflattering, full-body puffy coats. Fashion-wise, this can actually be really freeing. Gone are the days of struggling to match a chambray shirt with the perfect vintage dress for that cute yet casual "I just threw this on" vibe (likewise for whatever the male equivalent is). Your only goal now is shapeless comfort. Buy a bunch of Cosby sweaters! Stock up on fleecy leggings and giant, snow-stomping boots! Wear colorful knit caps! And don't even get me started on scarves. My friend recently told me that my (extremely warm) winter hat makes me look like a WWII bomber, aka the guy on the left in this weird picture. And yet I continue to wear this unflattering earflap hat without shame, because it's winter and warmth trumps all. Like I said, freeing. 

4) Hibernate

Instead of bemoaning the cold and how annoying it is to walk to Old Kenyon/the Cove/your friend’s place in sub zero temperatures, make staying in the place to be! If you have access to an apartment, make a fancy dinner or have a Mad Men-style cocktail party. Make a round of "butter babies" or hot schnnocolate and play board games. Or just bake a bunch of cookies and have an emotional 90's TV marathon.* Whatever you do, make sure it involves food/hot beverages and the fact that you never once have to leave your building.

*Also, there's always beer pong.