Winter. It Happens. Deal With It.

Well, here we are again, staring down another cold Ohio winter. As the ground frosts over and the first flurries fill the air, it’s time that we all acknowledge something many have long known to be true: Oberlin winters actually aren’t that bad. 

Picture this: You start your day by putting on two shirts, two sweaters, leggings, pants, your winter coat, and of course, your hat, gloves, and scarf, in order to face the cold. Because of how hot your dorm is, you immediately regret it, but know that it’s necessary. When you begin your stroll down Professor Street to the King Building, you notice a man casually strolling into Stevenson Dining Hall wearing nothing but shorts and a hoodie. As you continue your walk, you speed up a bit because the amount of time it took to bundle up has made you late. All of the layers you put on earlier are making you a bit warm, but it’s nothing unbearable. At last, you arrive at King, and begin the epic climb up the stairs to your third floor Politics class. As you enter the stairwell, you’re hit with a blast of hot, stagnant air, and feel the sweat pool under your many sweaters. When you finally arrive in class, you look like a drowned rat from the combination of hat hair and sweat, and awkwardly remove your many layers as your professor begins to lecture. How good will finally stepping outside after a long lecture in a stuffy room in King feel? There just isn’t anything like it. 

Consider that many of Oberlin’s buildings are heated almost to excess. When all of the buildings are practically dry saunas, going outside for a jaunt from one to another feels like a delightful breath of fresh air. Sure, that air might be very, very, cold, but when some of the buildings on campus are so hot that they make you want to strip down naked as soon as you enter the door, it all balances out. 

The colder months also bring everyone’s favorite holiday celebrating colonization and genocide: Thanksgiving! What’s not to love about a whitewashed holiday where your family gets together and argues about the results of the midterm elections while getting awesomely drunk? This holiday provides you with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to listen to your uncle argue that he thinks reparations are unnecessary because he was born in the 1960s to a mother who wasn’t even born in the United States! And, sure, the weather can be a little miserable in late November, but a stroll in the drizzly cold to “help digest after dinner” provides a convenient escape from your grandparents’ condescending comments on your appearance or what you are studying at school. 

Winter also brings with it Christmas — a holiday centered around joy. ’Tis the season to celebrate all things capitalism! How can we be miserable in the season of the holiday that best glorifies American consumption and excess? Andy Williams sings an entire song about how Christmastime, which occurs in the cold winter months of November and December, is the most wonderful time of the year. He even gives us a whole list of things that we can do: host parties, roast marshmallows, carol out in the snow, and tell stories of Christmases past. These are clearly all activities that can only be done in winter. It would be absolutely ridiculous to even consider hosting a party or roasting a marshmallow in the summer. 

That said, there really are a lot of activities that can only really be done in the winter. Ice skating can be done year-round indoors, but it’s so much more fun to do outside when you can freeze your face off as well as your butt when you fall. If that’s not cold enough for you, you can just lie down in the snow and surround yourself in ice crystals to make a snow angel! If you’re really daring, you can do that thing where you faceplant into the snow and then take a flash photo of the imprint so that it looks 3D! What fun there is to be had in winter! 

Sure, Oberlin winters last for, like, five months and the temperature won’t be above 25 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks on end, but winter really does have its moments. As the season progresses, and you continue to see those guys who wear shorts outside and wonder, “Will they ever put on pants?” maybe you’ll realize that they’re just on a higher plane of thought: they have mastered the art of the Oberlin winter. If nothing else, you get bragging rights that you — yes, you — have endured a Midwest winter, complete with lake effect snow! And remember, it’s really not that bad. We could be in Minnesota, after all.