Enjoying Syracuse in the Winter

Enjoying Syracuse in the Winter

A few days into the second semester, you might notice something about Syracuse–or rather, lack thereof. Due to the university’s location, the winter can feel especially harsh and gloomy because you can go a few days without seeing any sunshine. It’s easy to let these dark days get you down. When you arrive to Newhouse in the morning it’s still a little dingy and once meetings, work and class pick up, you’ll likely leave in the dark. It can make the weekdays feel like one extended night filled with brushing snow off cars, slipping on ice and feeling the inside of your nostrils freeze as you walk to class.

Luckily for me this winter, I was still riding high on inspiration from the 2018 Winter Olympics. A friend of mine suggested we use a package deal available through the university for ski lessons and I can honestly say that taking her up on it was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently. I may have fallen a couple of times, but after three hours of lessons and practicing, I looked up and realized I hadn’t thought of my stressful meetings or assignments the entire time. Even more incredibly, I woke up to a snowfall Friday morning and was excited—it looked perfect for skiing on.

Coming from Texas, the extreme cold here has both fascinated and worried me. I think the winters here are beautiful and I love the ability to finally own an extended “winter wardrobe.” At the same time though, my skin isn’t tough enough to bear the wind, the lack of moisture in the air is unlike anything I’d ever experienced and no one told me that snow meant waking up 20 minutes earlier so I could clean off my car.

Though, out on the mountain last week, I learned some things about dealing with the snow. If you move enough, you really don’t feel it (actually, you have to remind yourself to go inside every once in a while before your face gets too cold). If you wear wool and layers that aren’t cotton, you can keep yourself drier and warmer longer. Deep breaths are your friend and you can find resistance even in the slipperiest snow while walking. Most of all, I realized how limited these conditions are. Most of us don’t know where we’ll land after finishing our time at Newhouse. I know for sure though that there’s only so many places in the world where you can drive for half an hour and have a mountains for skiing and snowboarding available.

We’re taught at Newhouse to make the most of our resources. Looking at your geography strategically instead of cynically, it’s clear that even the worst weather here is actually an opportunity in disguise, one that that university tries to make available for you through multiple channels. Whether you want to sled for the first time, ice skate with friends, or learn a new winter sport, it can be good for your brain to take some time off your busy week and go outside. Summer may not be year round, but the mental health perks of being surrounded by nature are certainly evergreen.

Isabel Drukker
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