Snowed In

Winter, it's just like your girlfriend; you're excited when she arrives, but after a little while you can't wait for her to leave. When the first snowflake touches the ground an air of elation invades your body. You dream of Rockwell-esque winter landscapes and sipping hot chocolate by a roaring fire. You remember your innocent days – the ones before you knew about wars and drugs and your Mom's "friend," Uncle Tyler – and how much you loved building snowmen and hurling gravel-infused snowballs at your friends. You remember your Mom instructing you in the art of "layering" and trying desperately to pull your gloves off with your teeth. Hats with pom pom balls on top and the kid with the eternally frozen snot-stream running down his face. Yes, that first snow of the year truly brings you to a wonderful place. But, like sex or a fresh pizza, nothing that good can last.

Just as the snow on the ground turns from pristine, untouched beauty to muddy brown sludge, so goes your feelings about this, the cruelest of seasons. As a child, the joy of winter never faded. You treated each coming snowstorm as an opportunity to celebrate because, if God and the weatherman heard your prayers, you would be released from the hell that was school for a day. We all had the same routine when it came to the possibility of a snow day: you woke up half an hour early, turned on the TV and waited patiently for your town's superintendent to announce the glorious news. If it started snowing while you were at school cruel children would often spread rumors that "the busses were outside," building up your expectations of an early dismissal. These days however, it only seems to snow on the weekends.

Living in New York City, winter is an especially rough season. The wind seems to cut you in half and the snow never falls so much as it streams sideways, stinging your face. Also, the city – which, remember, is rumored to be the toughest in the world – shrinks in the face of a snowstorm that most Canadians would hardly notice. An inch of snow sends the city into a panic: the buses stop running, people stock up on water and food and the local weathermen speak of the storm as if God Himself was punishing us for our transgressions. Of course, in reality, it's just a little snow and will melt in a day or two, but panic is the new status quo in this country and the weathermen must comply.

Which brings me to the subject of winter in college and why we, as a student population, bemoan the season. To begin, the possibility of a high school-style snow day is remote, if not unheard of. Every now and then you may have a class or two cancelled, but for the most part a snowstorm just means your walk to class is going to suck more than it usually does. There are no parents calling the school board and complaining about you waiting for the bus in the cold. Nobody is fighting for your right to stay warm and play videogames when you get to college.

Also, the snowy section of winter lasting from January to early March is just another obstacle standing in the way of spring. With spring comes all that you built college up to be in your mind: skirts, parties and, of course, Spring Break. It's almost as if winter is your punishment for all the sins you plan on committing when spring arrives. In order to enjoy the drunken revelries that will surely come in April and May you must first spend your time in purgatory watching Animal Planet for lack of anything better to do.

Winter also means you will be spending more time inside your almost certainly tiny dorm room or apartment. There you will sit eating microwaveable food, watching movies you've already seen and hating your roommates more than you ever thought possible. As exiles from the elements, you and your roommates will begin to notice little things about each other, little personality quirks that seem to get increasingly annoying as time goes by. Where you would have hardly noticed your roommate's tendency to tap his fingers a few months ago, you now dwell on it. It consumes your soul, your very being. You see him sitting there tapping away and your mind begins to warp until you feel like chasing him with an axe