As a California girl, I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments to life in Pennsylvania since moving to Swat. Sure, I had to figure out how to live with roommates, how to properly manage my time, and how to work the SEPTA system. But, I would say that the most challenging of these changes has been the weather. Back at home, I had never experienced temperatures below 40 degrees, and that only happened a couple of times in the mornings during the dead of winter. But at Swat, it might not break freezing for an entire week! I experienced a huge learning curve with this, resulting in more than a couple of chilly walks to class in the morning and from the library at night. And with freezing temperatures comes snow, or so I assumed. It took a while, but the wait for my first snow was well worth the wait.
When the snow finally came, I had no idea how to deal with it. I happened to go into Philadelphia that first snow day, and I was pretty unprepared. I didn’t realize that everyone was wearing hats because the snow makes your hair soaking wet and cold, or that there would be ice on every surface imaginable, and that I would continue to slip on it no matter how carefully I walked. I didn’t understand the importance of gloves or warm socks until I was shivering, while my friends from the East Coast were nice and warm. But, despite these downsides, the snow was so beautiful. When I returned to campus that afternoon, Swat was covered by three or four inches of snow, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I took so many pictures and videos of everything because it was all just so unbelievably beautiful.
Besides being so visually pleasing, I really think that the snow changed the attitude of the campus as a whole, at least for a couple of days. That first snow day came at the beginning of December, just as the semester was winding down and everyone was bogged down with work and finals were looming in the near future. I think that we all needed a little bit of a break, or rather, a reason to take a break, and that is exactly what the snow provided for us. We had impromptu snowball fights and photo shoots and took walks outside when we needed a study break rather than watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook. It was a really nice time to be on campus as a whole, and I think that that first snow really rejuvenated us and helped us to push through one of the toughest times in the semester.
I came to Swarthmore in part because I wanted to experience something different than where I had lived my entire life. I’m not living the California lifestyle anymore. I experience seasons, sub-freezing temperatures, and humidity. I live with roommates, and I have lots of completely new friends, and I work a lot more than I ever did in the past. Everything in my life is so different than it was six months ago, but I really love the ways that things are changing—snow included.