As students begin to flock to the Dartmouth Coach and head (hopefully) south for the winter, the snow begins to fall on Baker Tower and campus takes a quiet hush. This is not the first time I have experienced snow, but the first time I did see falling snow was my freshman year at Dartmouth. Well, let me clarify, I saw frost on the ground which I thought was snow in early October and then had my world ROCKED when we got about a foot of snow before our winter break in 2016. Being from Hawai'i, the snow was a novelty, but also super hard to deal with. This week I want to talk about the weather during the winter and how to appreciate the beauty and mitigate the negatives of Dartmouth winter.
First and foremost, get a good coat! When I came to Dartmouth the warmest 'layer' I owned was a sweatshirt and rain jacket, and although the weather in August and September is pretty warm, it gets cold fast. I remember being at a loss and not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars on a giant coat right away until I could do some research, so one of my friends who was an upperclassman took me to a thrift shop to look for something a bit warmer. I found the perfect quilted puffy jacket (for just $5), and that made a huge difference going into November and right up to winter break. I also invested in some nice ski pants so I could stay warm while sledding. Despite all these warm layers, it can still feel hard to get outside sometimes.
One of the biggest things that made me sad my first winter was just a lack of outdoors time. I had no idea how to interact with the outdoors in this new setting, and staying inside all day just made me feel a little bit sadder about the whole thing. All my friends were skiing or sledding or doing their families did during the winter, and without a surfboard near I was at a loss of what to do. Luckily, on a day when I was feeling really down and out about school and campus, my friend picked me up and invited me to come skate with him on Occam Pond! They freeze the pond over and bring over assistance devices (read: trash cans) so that you really don't need any experience to have a good time. We just played around and I finally got to get outside and appreciate the winter for what it was.
You might be reading this from any corner of the world, warm or cold, but the weather at Dartmouth is still going to be an adjustment. I was really nervous at first, but with some help from upperclassman and my friends, I realized how to conquer winter with my head held high. I haven't been back for a winter since freshman year, but I am ready to go back to school in January and pick up where I left off (and maybe even try a few new things)!