Seven Tips for Kenyon Snow

I’m looking forward to warmer weather when I can throw on a T-shirt under my Kenyon hoodie and feel the sun shining. Until then, you’ll find me looking out at the snow.

Old Kenyon residence hall in snow

As soon as my suitemate told me there would be six more weeks of snow and gloomy weather based on a rodent’s prediction, I started whining. As an international student who has heard Americans complaining about the absurdity of holidays in other cultures, Groundhog Day is the most ridiculous holiday I’ve ever heard of. I longed for the upside-down tree to be covered in layers of leaves again, for the spring flowers to blossom, for the weather to be warm enough to study outside on a blanket. But considering that the snow is not going to melt anytime soon, I tried to find the silver lining in the muddiness by — you probably guessed it from my last post, Seven Tips for a Perfect Kenyon Fall — making a list of activities to do with Kenyon snow.

  1. Build a snow person! Does anyone want to build a snowman? In the first-year group chat, students take advantage of the seven inches of snow to bond with peers over nostalgia and coldness. Caples, the residence hall reserved for first-year students this semester, is surrounded by a few snow people. Whether it is two giant snowballs stacked on top of one another or blobs of unrecognizable shapes, it is a symbol of how this unusual winter season brings people together.

  2. Or a snow angel! Close your eyes and fall backwards gracefully onto the ground — like a trust fall. Don’t worry, the soft snow will catch you. Wiggle your arms and legs, so it’s more difficult for your friends to recognize the shape. 

  3. Have a snowball fight! When I open the blinds and look out of my window on Saturday morning, the field in front of Caples is filled with laughter. Students are throwing snowballs at one another, skipping and jumping around in the snow until it fills their boots, hiding behind giant trees and startling the birds (whose nests are right outside of my window, so I feel kind of protective towards them). 

  4. Take a snowy photo! Students from warmer climates eagerly showed me the breathtaking photos they took from the ninth floor of Caples. From this vantage point, you can see all of Gambier: snow on bare branches, the spires of Old Kenyon, and people trudging down (currently muddy) Middle Path. It is always a source of joy to see the amazement in the eyes of people who are seeing snow for the first time in their life. There is a reason the Kenyon Instagram is filled with so many pictures of Gothic buildings covered in a snowy blanket.

  5. Go for a snowy walk! Every morning, when my suitemate and I walk to Peirce for breakfast, we gush over how warm the weather is compared to yesterday, how many days of winter are left. My suitemate, who has a much more scientific mind than me, explained how salt makes the snow melt faster — shout out to the maintenance staff who get up early every day to clear the roads and sidewalks — while I stopped at each shrub and commented on how the icicles frozen on branches are like a transparent layer of clothing. We struggled to recognize people under masks and winter jackets and kept our glasses (well, mostly mine) from fogging. 

  6. Write a poem about it! In front of the quaint Kenyon church, my poet friend and I investigated animals’ footprints in the snow. Who could have left them? Too big to be squirrels. Have you seen squirrels this winter? We decided (unwisely to a degree) to walk through the snow to the chair under the tree where we sometimes eat dinner (you know, when the snow isn’t eight inches deep). We pointed to random objects covered in snow, brainstormed metaphors to use in our workshop, and later, wrote villanelles (a form of poetry) inspired by our relaxing stroll. 

  7. Complain about it! Does it snow like this where you are from? No matter how terribly awkward I am at small talk, the snow provides a topic for easy conversations about hometowns and upbringings. After the basic “where do you live” or “what are you studying” (neither of which work, since all first-year students live in Caples and no one knows what they want to major in yet), the weather is a perfect segue to acquaintance-level friendship.

Despite the fun of the snow, I am looking forward to warmer weather when I can throw on a T-shirt under my Kenyon hoodie and feel the sun shining. Until then, you’ll find me looking out at the snow from behind my purple Kenyon mug of hot cocoa.