January 29, 2019

TAARIQ | Not So Wondrous Winter Land

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As an environmental and sustainability sciences major, you would think that I would be against global warming. I understand that I am not from California or the South, but I’m tired of this winter after two decades on the East Coast. Of course I am concerned about the dysfunction and distribution of traumatic weather patterns due to anthropogenic activity, but this late winter and transition back to campus have been rough. This spring semester, I’ve come back with visions of professional development and academic success, but in the face of bone-chilling winds and hazardous slopes, my energy tank remains low. There are, however, some things I have employed to remain marginally functional. If the last two decades of NY winter has done anything, it has taught me some ways to make the season more productive.

To the kids who are still wearing shorts on campus this month, you’re probably superhuman. If you are still wearing sneakers through snow storms you probably need to visit the shoe store in Ithaca Mall. The only way I can leave my bed every day is if I walk out feeling like I’m still in it. Staying bundled and warm is more important to me than committing to the fit. Although I lack the funds to gain membership into the Canada Goose cult, I can assure you that I’m just as warm in my off-brand puffy jacket. But if you can balance staying warm and looking cute, more power to you. Also, check your weather app every day and don’t be caught off guard.

A bundle of tissue paper currently pokes out of my pocket as I try with all my might to curb illness. Get your flu shot, eat well, drink Emergen-C, take multivitamins, and for the love of god please sneeze into your elbows. As coughs, sniffles and sneezes ripple through your lecture hall this winter, remember to protect yourself and others from any germs and ask yourself — when was the last time you washed your hands?

Please don’t waste your BRBs or cash on winter luxuries like caramel lattes from Libe Café everyday. Just imagine your future self in the spring scraping your bank account to buy a Frappuccino. Use thermoses and make your own warm drinks to literally save hundreds of dollars. The cold becomes more bearable when you can maintain a supply of warm beverages throughout the day without having to sacrifice your future funds.

If you have to be up at the crack of dawn for morning classes or early work shifts I feel your pain. This is when we really start to reconsider our life choices. Besides setting multiple alarms, you can adopt other healthy practices to make the morning more bearable. This includes giving yourself at least seven hours of sleep, weaning yourself off of morning caffeine, taking a quick shower, and maybe even checking your bursar balance. Although winter makes this extremely difficult, we all know that skipping classes often times leads to a downward academic spiral and constant catching up. When we are laying in bed wondering if it is worth going to class, just remember how lucky you are to go here, and how future success will make those years of winter morning classes worth it.

Self-care is one of the most important and effective tools for surviving winter. Besides staying away from getting sick, or driving safely on the roads, taking care of yourself has a lot to do with your mental and emotional well-being. I am no stranger to the curse of seasonal depression myself. Winters at Cornell can be another dark cloud on top of rigorous academic studies. However, this is the time where we see what we are capable of. I have learned a lot about perseverance, tenacity and finesse while at Cornell, and to achieve this starts with self-reflection. When we know what we need, whether it be a break from people, long nap, socializing, counseling or a hot shower (unless your water on North Campus is turning yellow), we are better able to recover, and in turn, work harder.

Surviving winter at Cornell is one of those experiences that breaks you down to build you up stronger. At the end of your time here you may wish to never experience a winter again, but you will understand the significance it has had on your personal growth. By remembering to take care of yourself, and checking in on the people around you, you will make it. Whenever the snow clears up, and the sun shines again on our campus, I notice smiles once again on everyone’s faces. It’s like everyone is happy for no reason. I remind myself, “this campus is kind of cute”, and remain grateful for the opportunity to be here.