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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Different perspectives; how snow can inspire

Published: February 7, 2014
Section: Opinions

When I came to Brandeis in the fall of 2012, there were a few things I was truly excited for: independence, new friends and seasons. Growing up in a fairly small suburb maybe 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, seasons were not something I had ever really experienced. I had been through hot weather, rainy weather, mildly not hot weather and a whole lot of humidity, but never fall or winter or even really spring. Trees don’t shed their leaves in Florida—imagine how funny our palm trees would look! Actually, there was one tree in my front yard one year that panicked during a strange two-day cold snap a few years back; it dropped all its leaves and then immediately started growing them back once the temperature was back in the 70s and 80s. So as a Florida kid, I was more than excited to see the beautiful colors of changing leaves throughout the later months of the year.

Yet as a college first-year, the thing I was most excited for was snow. More than just getting to wear a sweater every now and then, I was eager to see that beautiful white powder fall from the sky. In my mind, snow is much more wondrous and elegant than rain, even if it is a bit more problematic. The first snow last year was not the most eventful, but I remember running outside, eager to experience it at last. When we did have a major snowfall, I was downright gleeful every time. That much snow meant sledding, snowball fights, snow angels, jumping into piles of snow, hot cocoa and possibly the cancellation of class. The only cancellations we ever got in Florida were hurricane days. I don’t know about anyone else in Florida, but I was not allowed to gleefully run outside during a hurricane, nor did I want to.

The first snow of the year, even if it isn’t much to see, is one of my favorite things. I love how much happiness can be achieved from that funny white precipitation. But I notice not everyone feels this way. A lot of people don’t like the snow at all—it’s a nuisance, a hazard or just plain too cold. Yes, snow is in fact all of those things. However, there are downsides and upsides to everything in life. We can choose to always look at the negatives or allow the positive side of it to shine through.

While snow makes for dangerous driving conditions, driving is already dangerous. So if conditions are bad, don’t drive. Massachusetts is blessed with far better public transportation than my hometown, and if snow makes driving dangerous, take advantage of public transportation! Unfortunately, there’s no way to get around the necessary shoveling of driveways—which is probably why I will never move off-campus for as long as I go to school here in New England.

Aside from the few downsides, I think snow is wonderful. Snow makes a cold day feel a little bit warmer. Maybe not externally, but it warms you up inside like a nice cup of hot cocoa. Snow gives all of us college-aged people the opportunity to let out our inner children. Playing in the snow is such a joyful, albeit chilly, experience. I find the stresses of college life melting away as I pelt friends with snowballs or craft an exquisite snowman or snowwoman. I remember a day last semester, right after the Messiah Sing, when there was snow on the ground and I actually made a new friend while playing in the snow. We ran across the great lawn without lifting our feet, pretending we were cross-country skiing and seeing who would win the race. In the midst of finals season, I cannot remember laughing harder than that at any given time.

For those who have seen Disney’s newest film “Frozen,” you’ll remember Olaf the snowman’s hilarious musical number “In Summer.” Olaf sings of how marvelous he thinks summer will be, excited to see what happens to snow when it gets warm in the summertime. I see myself as Olaf’s opposite. I am someone who has essentially only experienced summer for the majority of life, and wants to see the exquisite things that happen when water freezes. Just recently I marveled at the beauty of some icicles hanging off of a plant, awed by their beauty. My friend from Massachusetts was unimpressed, simply because she’s seen these things her whole life. I think we ought to rediscover the magnificence of winter. It’s time we all take a Floridian’s perspective and fall in love with this beautiful, albeit freezing, season.