Snow, Sweaters, and More: Swarthmore’s Many Surprises as a West Coast Native

It is no surprise that moving away for the first time is a huge adjustment–this is especially true when you are moving over 2,500 miles from your childhood city to a brand new coast. Having never stepped foot on the East Coast prior to moving in my Freshman year, there were a lot of challenges that I did not expect from life on the East Coast, however there are also a lot of fun surprises too!  

One of the most obvious (yet most peculiar) realizations that I had in my first year here at Swarthmore was not only the benefit, but the necessity, of having a good, thick sweater and coat. In my hometown of San Diego, CA where temperatures rarely, if ever, fall below 50 degrees, a coat was not a necessity nor was it really worn by anyone. A coat, at least in my naive and accustomed eyes, was simply a piece of fashion that accentuated one’s silhouette. Little did I know that trying to survive the cold, blustery nights on campus without one was not much of a possibility, and that’s just if you were on campus! Try going out for a night in Philadelphia with your friends without a warm coat; I’ll tell you, it’s not a fun time! As a first generation, low income (FLI) student here at Swarthmore, one of the biggest excitements personally was the coat drive, where students and staff alike donate their old winter coats for current FLI students to take and own for themselves. This is exactly what I did, I went to the FLI coat rack and took my current coat (which is still serving me well from Freshman year)! There are many resources on campus to ensure that all students have warm and adequate clothing for the East Coast cold, but mentally preparing yourself more than I did is always a good first step!

Tying into this idea of winter posing new surprises for an unadjusted individual, snow has really been both a fun and treacherous experience for me. Prior to my Freshman year, I had never even seen snow before. This year, we have gotten a fair amount of snow, and it has been extremely exciting to see and experience winter in a whole new light. Never did I think that I would be able to make a snowman or have a snowball fight with friends. However, these are two activities that I have done several times this Spring Semester! I think a big part of why I have enjoyed the snow this year so much has been the fact that I have actually gotten the opportunity to go out into it and embrace it; go out and make a snowman with your friends, have a snowball fight, embrace your inner child and really enjoy the experiences that college brings you! It is this ideal that has really allowed me to not only deal with, but love the snow. There are downsides to the snow, like when you are rushing to class and you slip and fall or when you forget your scarf and gloves and you’re freezing walking to your 9:30 AM Chemistry course. However, I find that these downsides are outweighed by the beauty that the snow brings to campus–the gorgeous and cinematic feeling that a snow capped Swarthmore brings is unbeatable in my eyes. 

Overall, life at Swarthmore, particularly in the winter, is extremely fun and beautiful, however there are many things that might take getting used to (at least they did for me)!

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