Oberlin Blogs


February 5, 2011

Patrick Doherty ’11

As I sit in my apartment writing this blog post, I imagine that my youngest sister is on her way home from school, walking from the bus stop to our house. She's probably frolicking happily in the sunny, warm weather. Perhaps later she will play outside with my family's new puppy.

a weather report for Walnut Creek, CA showing sunny and 75 degrees

This is the weather in my hometown today.


Cut to 2500 miles away in a small, rural town in northeast Ohio. I am sitting in my apartment, recovering from my recent picture-taking adventure in the snow. I can, once again, feel my feet and am ready to blog about the winter wonderland that is Oberlin. As a side note, I took all of these pictures today. Woot!

a weather report for Oberlin, OH showing snowy and 27 degrees

This is the weather in Oberlin today.


Growing up in the Bay Area, I didn't ever have a true living in snow experience. The Bay Area has a strange snow culture that most people from cold weather states find ridiculous. Let me describe it for you. Once or twice a year, your family will journey to a place with snow (probably Lake Tahoe - which, by the way, is referred to as "Tahoe"). You keep a box of "snow clothes" in a box in the attic. Think ski attire for what my family deems appropriate for snow. You spend the weekend in Tahoe, playing in the snow, skiing, adventuring, and retreating back to the cabin/house/hotel/etc. when you get cold. This was the vast majority of my experience with snow prior to Oberlin.

Now, when I visited Oberlin, it was one of those bizarre days when there's a good six inches of snow on the ground, but it's sunny and about 60 degrees outside. I distinctly recall my mom telling me not to be fooled by the weather, but I'm pretty sure I ignored her. My bad.

A snowy filled courtyard

The courtyard between Rice and King. One of my favorite spots on campus (when the weather is warm, that is).


Weather in Ohio is an experience for anyone not used to snow. Now, we don't get as much snow as, say, upstate New York, but what we do get is plenty for me.

Some friendly advice about preparing for Ohio winters: Do NOT buy your cold weather attire at home. Buy it in Ohio (or somewhere else where the weather actually gets cold). Nothing that I purchased in California survived beyond my first Ohio winter.
The photographer's shoes buried in snow

In my excitement to take snow pictures for a blog post, I forgot to put on my boots. Bad idea.


There are several articles of clothing in which you should invest: A coat, cold weather hats, scarves, gloves, and long underwear. Personally, I believe long underwear is optional because I have managed to survive without it for all these years, but several of my friends claim that it has made the days where the windchill brings the temperature into single digits or below (yes, in Fahrenheit) much more tolerable. Also, you must learn how to layer. Layering clothes is essential. I believe the most ridiculous my layering has ever been is when I had a long-sleeved shirt under a tee-shirt under a sweater under another sweater under a hoodie under a coat. I have a very low tolerance for cold weather... Oh, and don't forget the scarf, hat, and gloves!

The photographer takes a selfie while pointing at his head

Things that are missing from this picture: gloves, hat, scarf. Again, I forgot them in my picture-taking excitement.


The first snow in Oberlin is always a treat, because all the warm-weather people run outside in their excitement and play around (or perhaps even blog about it). Oberlin gets creative with snow sculptures, so there are often silly sculptures around campus throughout the winter.

If you are from a warm-weather location, you can manage an Ohio winter. My favorite example is that if Fajer, my friend from Bahrain, can manage to survive an Ohio winter, anyone can.

a weather report for Al Manama, Bahrain showing sunny and 65 degrees

This is the weather in Bahrain today. You don't want to know how insanely hot it gets there during the summer months.


Despite my constant whining about the snow (sorry, friends!), I find Ohio winters to be absolutely beautiful. Winter in Ohio may be cold, but it's almost worth the beauty of snow.

Icicles hanging from a roof drain

Probably the best picture I took today. Mommy Ma'ayan, did I make you proud?


A crowd wearing wedding attire in a snow storm under the arch at Tappan square
People often take wedding photos in Tappan Square. Until today, I did not realize that this happens when it is snowing.

For your amusement, and to conclude this post, I recreated my banner picture in the snow. Enjoy!

The author crouches in the snow and shivers

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