Sarah Downey Photograph


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Baby, it's COLD outside

February 6, 2007   Let me first say that I'd much rather be cold than hot.  To me, there's nothing worse than rolling around in bed with your sweaty sheet sticking to you while the fan you're desperately relying on to cool you off only blows your hair in your face.  Ideal sleeping conditions involve a frigid room and about a thousand layers of blankets.  If it gets hot, you can always throw off one of the layers.  But man, that feeling where you move into a new area of sheet that's still cold... that's the BEST.  As you can see, I am a "cold person" and the following will be biased as such.

Even though I prefer the cold, there are days at Hamilton where it's absolutely freezing.  Those days have been few and far between, though, particularly this winter.  My parents both went to Bates College in Maine, and they used to tell me stories of walking to class and having your eyes and your wet hair and the inside of your nose freeze.  I've experienced some of these things, but we have ways of coping.  First of all, there's a definite sense of campus connectedness on really cold days.  When you get up for class in the morning and check weather.com and see that there's a high of 2 degrees with flurries, you know that there's a collective groan across campus and that everyone is in the same situation.  Even so, we all feel like our presence in class on these days is like a gift to our professor.  When I walk into class bundled in so many layers that I look like the kid who can't put his arms down from "A Christmas Story," I feel like I'm sending the message that A, this class is important enough for me to sacrifice body heat in order to attend, and B, the professor should LOVE me for doing so.  I think we all tend to forget that we're the ones paying for our education, and technically we'd be the ones losing out if we skipped class.  On these really cold days, there's sort of a campus uniform that we all end up wearing.  Girls wear the extremely attractive ensemble of sweatpants tucked into Uggs or some other kind of Eskimo-looking boots, along with a sweater, a sweatshirt, a gigantic North Face jacket, a hat, and mittens.  It's pretty much the same for guys, minus the Eskimo boots.  We all walk around like we're wearing blinders with all the winter gear on, and we trudge past each other without a clue who the other person is (unless we can recognize each other by our jackets/boots, which, sadly, we do).  Another way of keeping warm is by obtaining tea, hot chocolate, or some other form of hot beverage and carrying it around campus.  Sometimes I'll get tea that I have no intention of drinking simply so that I can hold it and drain all of its heat energy on the way to class.

Again, let me reiterate that this is what happens on the absolute WORST days, and by no means is it bad most of the time.  And with a certain amount of motivation, you can handle the cold very easily.  For example, a bunch of us went bowling in negative 30 degree weather my freshman year, and I was very smart that night and only wore a sweatshirt.  You just have to run to the car and pump up the heat right away.  If you have to walk all the way from the science building to the far end of the dark side, which is probably the longest walk you'd ever have to make during the day, you'd be outside for a maximum of 12 minutes.  Yes, I have timed this.  And the mail center is right in between the two sides of campus, so you can make strategic stops there to check your mail even when you know your box is empty and you just want to thaw out.  So don't worry about the cold-- it's cold everywhere this time of year, and now you have these INSIDER TIPS to work with.