Going Outside and Other Extreme Winter Sports

Winter, huh? Whereas spring is the preferred season of boring people, summer the preferred season of those who like having sweat pool in unmentionable places and fall the preferred season of basic white girls, winter is the favorite season of the clinically insane. It’s quite a time of year, sporting many memorable qualities that keep us coming back—which is good, because, while the other seasons last for about three months each, the average winter lasts, by my estimate, for an entire decade.

Since I’m from Seattle, I never even knew what winter was before I came to Vassar. In Seattle, the weather has enough self-respect not to dip below freezing in the daytime, and snow is a cute thing that comes once or twice a year and then melts right away. The rest of the time, of course, it rains, but that’s nothing new. It may be miserable, but it’s a familiar kind of miserable, like eating unflavored oatmeal or listening to the One Direction song “Story of My Life.” It’s a kind of miserable that becomes comforting after a while.

Compared with that, winter in Poughkeepsie is a blast of polar death. Call me old-fashioned, but when I go out for my morning run, I like the temperature to not be a number that I can count on my fingers. What’s more, snow keeps falling all winter long, so that if you dig down you can find deep layers of fossilized ice containing the blast-chilled bodies of frostbitten sports bros who, despite the Antarctic weather, insisted on wearing shorts to the Deece. And you know what? I had no idea that snot could freeze! It was all quite an adjustment for me.

Of course, I know that I have it easier than some. Many Vassar students have arrived to our lovely campus from exotic locales, such as Florida, where it rarely gets cooler than a relaxing subtropical breeze. Clearly, these students need help, and while I may not be the best qualified to offer advice about cold weather, well, I’ve never let that stop me before, have I?

My Top Tip for surviving the winter freeze is: wear more clothes. Maybe you don’t have the most cutting-edge Arctic survival gear, but you probably do have a lot of cheap schlock. As I write this, I’m wearing two pairs of pants, two shirts, a hat and roughly 730 pairs of socks—and while my toes still feel like they’re going to fall off from frostbite within the next hour or so, they lasted longer than they would have otherwise!

There is one great thing about winter, though: It ends, although far too slowly for my liking. Soon, temperatures will begin to climb above freezing (although you should never take such a luxury for granted) and we’ll be able to go outside again. Until then, you can always light an unauthorized fire in your dorm room, right? I recommend burning math homework first.

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