Oberlin Blogs

Winter is Coming

February 20, 2016

Teague Harvey ’19


A real winter.

The thought almost sends shivers down my spine. Whether from excitement or anxiety, though, I'm not quite sure.

See, in New Zealand, the climate is sub-tropical. Add to that, New Plymouth is fairly far north on the North Island, so my winters simply consisted of a great deal of rain (especially compared to freaking dry Ohio) and some strong winds off of the ocean - but never any snow, and the temperatures would only occasionally drop below freezing.

So when I decided on Oberlin and found out about the Ohio winters, I immediately pictured the Night's Watch, shivering under deceitful darkness and snarling snow.

See, in terms of real winters, I know nothing - snow, I've seen before; after all, I've been up a few mountains in my time. I've just never lived in a place with proper winter.

Hence, when I came to Oberlin, I came prepared. Fancy duvet, warm coat, the works. I mentally prepared myself for cold, making my heart into stone - a Stoneheart, if you will.

None of which mattered last Fall, for Winter didn't come.

Thanks to El Nino, or R'hllor, it was 25 degrees (Celsius, because I use Metric like a sane person) in December. I felt Robb-ed.

And then last week, Winter fell.

A bike rack in the snow
Not gonna be using those anytime soon...

An empty snow filled north quad
North Quad looks dead - except for the one Snowman! They didn't put gloves on him, though - I bet he has Coldhands, and his little fingers are probably freezing!

A snowy view of Finney Chapel

Students walk in the snow near the memorial arch
So white! Are those wights?

A lone walker in a snowy Tappan square
Kind of Eyrie if you ask me - but where's the moon door?

A snowy Tappan square

A view of Peters Hall from a snowy Tappan square

Students walks through Wilder bowl in the snow
Mudd Library looks kind of like a fortress in this weather. I know some people who basically live there - but it would make a hard home, if you ask me.

A snowy view of the Science Center

A view of the snowy grass from inside Science Center

So yeah.

Even though the temperature dropped to -19 degrees (Celsius still, I'm still a sane person) a few days ago, everyone is saying that it's a mild winter, and that it gets worse here.

Arya wondering how I handled it?

Here are the lessons I've learned from my thus far brief clash with the Winds of Winter.


Someone mid-juggle of snow balls with a burst snow ball in front of their face
I actually got a haircut the day after this picture, so my hair is significantly shorter.

  • Be prepared to layer up. Or don't.
  • When it got really cold, I was wearing merino leggings, jeans, merino base layer, t-shirt, jersey (sweater), jacket, scarf, hat, and gloves. But that was only for that -19C day - it's too ridiculous to wear that many clothes all the time, and you'll Ygritte it as soon as you step inside. Especially in Barrows, the heat is WAY TOO HIGH. I have to open the window, to the freezing weather, to cool down my room. I have to sleep without the duvet. It's stupid.

    So, remember that however many clothes you put on, you'll probably want to take them all off as soon as you get inside - also, remember that the weather Varys, and so the afternoons are generally warmer than the mornings.


  • They put this weird salt stuff on the sidewalks.
  • It's actually cool to see some Chemistry in action - the salt lowers the freezing point of water, and so the snow just melts right off. Of course, they also use some good old fashioned snowploughs.


    I've also discovered that when they don't clean them, the ice compacts from everyone walking on the sidewalk, and it makes a great surface for sliding. Too bad Ohio doesn't have hills.


  • When you join a snowball fight, side with the baseball players.
  • I Rickon this should be pretty self-explanatory.
    My roommate played baseball in high school, so he knows how to throw a fast snowball...


    And finally...


  • If you're going to juggle snowballs, make sure they're compacted first.


(Addendum: Due to the process of writing and posting, a week has passed since the heavy snowfall and cold snap. It was warm today and all of the snow melted - I'm actually wearing shorts right now! Our 'winter' lasted a whole two weeks... Maybe next year!)

REFERENCE CHECK: Did you spot all of the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones references? There were 18, including the title:

  1. Winter is coming

  2. Night's Watch

  3. I know nothing - snow

  4. Stoneheart

  5. R'hllor

  6. Robb-ed

  7. Winterfell

  8. Coldhands

  9. Littlefinger

  10. Wights

  11. Eyrie/Moon door

  12. Hardhome

  13. Arya

  14. Winds of Winter

  15. Ygritte

  16. Varys

  17. Rickon

  18. Hodor



Similar Blog Entries