Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Sometimes in Ohio, It Hurts to Go Outside....

Frances Sutton
January 31, 2013

As you can tell from many of the posts in this blog, winter has descended on Kenyon College/ Ohio/ the Northeast. From the way we talk about the weather here in Gambier, you’d think we were the only people in the world who experience winter.

I, for one, play into the melodrama, cause why not? If you live in a village, you ain’t getting snow days like at some bigger colleges- nope, we don’t do that here. ERGO, complaining about the cold (even if you are from Massachusetts- whoops) is totally appropriate as long as you aren’t Ebenezer Scrooge-style intolerable (Actually, I take that back…in Dickens’s day, they did not have central heating. If I were Scrooge, I probably would be annoyed that people like Bob Cratchit were so good natured and earnest all the time- if the temperature indoors is only slightly warmer than the temperature outdoors, I don’t think it’s realistic for anyone to be cheerful…but I digress.) 

Despite my empathy for winter grouchiness, I am a big believer that the main way to fight the winter blues is by surrounding yourself with some all-natural heat, AKA friends.

A lot of people try to survive winter by hibernating in their rooms, eating soup and sandwiches from the Market, and watching Netflix Instant. I understand the desire to pursue this path of least resistance because I feel like the Ohio cold can sometimes be personally offensive with how intense it is- however- this tactic only gets you so far. When you reach that point in your hibernation where you start to wish that you lived in Downton Abbey, you’ve gone too far my friend. You need to take a step back and examine some priorities.

Here are some things I’ve picked up about being social/functional (one might even say, Bob Cratchit –esque) during Gambier winters:

  1. The easiest way to stay warm and social is to just go to Peirce in the morning and only leave when you need to go to class or eventually go home. All of your friends have to come to Peirce eventually (there’s only one dining hall) and you get an endless supply of tea and toast. Win-win.
  2.  Take “warm-cuts” throughout campus. Unlike a short-cut, warm-cuts are not for expediting your journey but rather lengthening it for the sake of sanity. For example, if you are walking anywhere North from anywhere South, cut through Wiggle Ground- talk to some people that you know while your icy fingers defrost and then continue your journey. (If you live in New Apts, you might have to stop in Caples too…or invest in a moped)
  3.  Last but not least, this is a tip for all the social butterflies who are also slackers…just keep all the good snacks and drinks in your room. If you actively choose not to participate in the mile-long winter sojourn of Kenyon, but you still want to spend time with others, you need to keep the following items in your room: tea (and accompanying tea kettle/microwave), hot chocolate (bonus points for marshmallows), Lindt truffles (this one sounds weird but it’s actually such a game changer because you know that you will be the only person on campus who casually keeps these in your room), popcorn/chips on chips on chips (obviously), annnnd the occasional willingness to order Papa Johns. 

I can't tell you which one of these is the most effective, mostly because I tend to do all of these things because I am extroverted and also allergic to cold weather (not scientifically proven). But they all are pretty successful, in my humble opinion. 

Ultimately, Kenyon is a cozy place filled with people I love and sometimes hanging out with those people involves bundling up and heading to Peirce for 8 hours or spending an extra 6 minutes in Wiggle Ground…or sometimes sending that text that says, “Well, I’m already in my pj’s but if you come here I have popcorn and m&m’s and an episode of Scrubs at the ready.” Whatever you gotta do to keep your spirits up- it’s worth it. 

p.s. That girl on the left in that photo is totally me...also that photo was just taken over winter break...hahaha just kidding! gotcha there for a second didn't I?