Walking in a winter wonderland

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What is it about snow days that make us feel so good? Teresa DiStefano investigates. Illustration by Alisia Gruendel/The Daily Campus.

As I sit here writing this piece, my window is open to the beautiful Nor’easter falling around us. Even though all classes were cancelled early Sunday night, I went to bed with the anticipation of a giddy school child, excited for the prospect of waking up to a world blanketed in snow. Remember when we were younger, and we would sit around the TV with our families late into the night watching the weather station, waiting for our school to come across the moving bar on the bottom of the screen with the words “Regional School District 9 — Closed”? As soon as my brother and I saw those words, we would do a happy dance, serotonin rushing through our bodies at the prospect of waking up to a world that resembled a snow globe. Sitting in my bed at college right now makes me wonder why snow has such a comforting presence and what activities people (especially college students) can do to pass the time.  

Living in Connecticut my entire life, I have grown up surrounded by four seasons. Some people don’t like the dreary winter weather, but I for one enjoy the snow. Sure, it might make driving conditions unbearable, and with it comes freezing weather, but that’s the best excuse for a day spent inside, wrapped in a blanket with a good novel and a cup of steaming hot chocolate. This picturesque snowy landscape has actually inspired many movies and TV shows to set their winter plots in Connecticut because there is something special about the traditional snow in a Northeastern state (Christmas in Connecticut, anyone?). I look forward to the first snowfall and the big ones that follow because of the relaxing power of the snow. Picture walking outside and leaving footprints in the enchanting landscape, breathing in the cool air and watching as your breath forms. Look around at the cleanliness of the white snow and step into it, leaving fresh footprints, and take a path of your choosing to embark on a new adventure. Take one inhale and notice how Lorelai Gilmore is right when she excitedly exclaims “I smell snow.” 

Looking outside right now, I see the snow coming down, and I am happy. I am reminded of my carefree childhood, making me want to recreate my  memories of playing in the snow. When I pack for school every year, I always make sure to have gear for enjoying the snow. Since classes are cancelled, this is the perfect time to have some fun. Think of the numerous activities that snow brings, including snow angels, snow forts, snowball fights and ice-skating rinks. As a student at UConn, when I experienced snow freshman year I anticipated the moment when my friends and I would be able to venture out to Horsebarn Hill. That year, two of my closest friends dressed up in snow gear and joined me on an adventure — attempting to sled down Horsebarn Hill. Even though the snow wasn’t in perfect condition for sledding that day, I remember it as one of my happiest moments of college, as all three of us decided to have a snowball fight on the top of the hill; I still smile just thinking about it. Last semester, I had plain old fun building a snowman in the middle of campus after the very first snowfall. We spent time rolling the snow to build a face and arms and everything in between (except for a corncob pipe and a button nose), and yes, we named him Edward. As people walked by, they commented on it and told us we were doing a great job, and it’s those little interactions that make me realize all that COVID-19 has taken away in terms of seeing those smiling faces on campus. But what if you aren’t fond of the cold weather and would rather stay inside? Well, you’re in luck because a snowfall is the perfect excuse to clean your room, decorate the dorm, cook something new, watch tons of movies, take a road trip, go online shopping or even play board games.  

Whether you are staying in to enjoy the winter weather from afar or running into it head-on by going outside to experience the beauties of a snowfall firsthand, there is something for everyone when it snows. As college students, we have the freedom to do what we want, courtesy of the newfound independence that staying at school gives us. With the snow falling around us and the wind howling, this is just another one of those opportunities to take advantage of our situation. Look around at the white snow surrounding campus, transforming it into a winter wonderland. Embrace the beauty and the happiness, take a break from studying and look forward to a long winter season filled with new opportunities and fun adventures. 

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