Don't let autumn pass you by

By Ashley Miller

Contributing Writer

It’s always easy to be happy in September. It’s easy to want to go to class, just so that you can walk around our beautiful campus for a few minutes. It’s easy to go to dinner at 7:00 and not have to worry about walking back in the dark.  It’s easy to procrastinate studying for a little while, so you can go outside and do something fun. It’s easy to forget what’s coming.

But then October hits and we get a sense of foreboding.  Life isn’t quite so easy anymore. With the changing of the seasons comes a little bit of extra difficulty. It starts off gently at first: the need to throw on a sweatshirt before walking to class, the dismissal of our flip flops, or the turning off of the air conditioning. Before long, we are all starting to remember why we were so desperate for the heaviest coat we could find last semester, why we insisted on buying so much instant hot chocolate mix, why we decided studying in our rooms was a better idea than trekking up to the library.

The cold is coming. It’s been sneaky so far, appearing only for a day or two at a time before bowing out to more moderate temperatures. But it’s been just enough that I’ve started to remember just how harsh the cold can be to a student. I remember slipping on one of the many icy campus paths after a snow storm. I remember the cold wind whipping at my face as I try to cross the quad. I remember skipping a review session or a meeting on more than one occasion simply because I didn’t feel like walking outside in the cold. I know it’s only going to be a matter of time before I find myself walking along briskly, teeth chattering, fingers too numb to text, wondering why I didn’t think to put on that extra-heavy coat.

I am sympathetic to those on campus who don’t have air conditioning in their dorm rooms and have just escaped from what was almost definitely one of the most unbearable living conditions of their lives. I did suffer through a year like that in Harris Hall last year. We had six or seven fans in our triple room, always operating on full power but never quite doing enough.  After a workout, walking into Harris felt like a death sentence. And forget about sleeping; even without blankets the heat would be enough to keep us up for hours.

However, I find that heat is better than the alternative. I already have enough trouble gathering the motivation to get out of my bed every morning at seven a.m. I can only imagine how my attendance will suffer when my covers are a cocoon of perfect warmth in an otherwise brutally cold world. Leaving the dorm will become a big project, most likely involving putting on snow boots, a scarf, gloves, and a down jacket. Going out at night turns into a treacherous quest, even if I plan to travel only across a small part of campus.

All the rain we have had recently is going to be snow in two months. The salt applied to the paths will do little to impede their slipperiness. And, of course, classes will never be canceled. Yes, the snow will be nice at first, before it starts melting. But as soon as it does, it will stay on the ground, dirty and half melted, for weeks before we see green grass again.

The moral of the story: Don’t under-appreciate these temperate fall days, for all too soon we will be back in the cold’s unyielding clutches.  Hate on the rain if you want to, but know that its evil twin–snow–is just around the corner.  A few months from now, we will all be wondering, nostalgically, what it was like to have feeling in our extremities when we walked outside.

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