Having been at UR for almost four years now, there are some things I’ve learned to love. There are others that I’ve learned to hate, but fortunately for my mental health, I’ve learned to live with them.
For example, I love Starbucks. Coffee is great, and no study session could be complete without a cake pop and a frappucino. Having a Starbucks conveniently located on our campus? It’s simply wonderful.
Things I’ve learned to hate? That would probably be campus food. Though improvements have been made to most of the major dining centers, sometimes it’s just the fact that, after months on campus with no car to get me off of it, the thought of ingesting even one more Blimpie sub or Zoca burrito is enough to make me dry heave.
Though the list could go on, these are all things I’ve either learned to appreciate or learned to stomach — literally. What has been my hardest lesson, however, hasn’t had anything to do with the campus itself. No, my friends, it has to do with the single most complained-about topic in the entirety of the city of Rochester — the inevitable, harsh and frigid months of winter.
Having grown up in rural New York — in a town smaller than the bottom of an empty teacup — I really do understand what it is like to have lots of snow. In fact, I would even venture to say that I actually like snow. Sure, it’s cold, and yes, you get wet if you stand there too long, but it adds its own beauty to the surroundings, and no other precipatory element is quite so fun to play with.
No, the snow isn’t the problem. It’s the bone-chilling, inescapable cold weather that makes my insides wither at the very thought of it.
Normally, it wouldn’t be a huge issue for me. At home, being inside with a mug of hot chocolate and the heat turned on was enough to hibernate with some effectiveness. At college, however, when one has to do things like go to class — and, for those of us in upperclassmen dorms, actually walk there — it becomes a slightly bigger issue.
Shuttles do not go to the Hill Court living center, where a large number of students live, so residents have to come up with strategic pathways to get to class with the least time outside as possible. Students who live off campus either have to drive or wait outside for shuttles, or, if they’re really brave, walk to campus and warm up afterwards.
The worst part about the winter isn’t these small inconveniences, though. It’s the fact that it lasts so long! The school year at UR is literally defined by its winter months, which start around November and continue through April, sometimes even into May. Rochester is just beautiful in the summer, but the bitter winters leave a sour taste in our mouths throughout the months that follow.
Maybe if we had more snow days, I would feel better about the issue. After all, no one likes skipping class, but no one likes being told to bring a shovel with them to class either — as an email from the administration last year suggested. It’s too bad we’re not allowed to have pets in campus housing either, since I would have bought a large Saint Bernard by now to follow me around and howl for my rescue should I become trapped in the snow.
I’ve even considered buying the full-body footie pajamas they sell in Target for those who have dignity less than or equal to their hate of the cold. Bunny-feet pajamas were never so enticing.
I used to think that if I could stomach the campus food and the crappy vacation schedule, I could tolerate most anything. But rest assured, when I graduate this year, I will have some new criteria on my list — namely, beachside property and an average temperature of no less than 60 degress fahrenheit.
If they happen to have an on-campus Starbucks, well, that would be the icing on the cake — or should I say, the “frost”-ing.
Aldrich is a member of
the class of 2012.