Winter lamentations


Zoya Azhar ’20 shares her struggles around Northampton’s cold weather.

Zoya Azhar ’20 | Associate Editor

How do I begin to understand thee? Let me count the ways…

One would imagine nearly three years of New England winter would be enough to get a handle on this whole weather situation. As it turns out, I’m more confused than ever before.

I present a scene from fall semester during my first year. It was the first snow of the season, and it was so heavy that a snow day was announced, and all administrative offices were closed. Being the gutsy first year that I was, I decided to leave my room in Capen House, brave the elements and show up for my dish-room shift at Lamont House. My outfit of choice was a thin hoodie over a t-shirt, jeggings and sneakers. Needless to say, it was a miracle I didn’t break my neck within the first minute of being outside; the steps leading down from Capen were laden with two inches of snow, and sneakers were the stupidest choice of shoe possible for that situation. However, I still showed up on time for my shift, albeit quite shaken up and covered in melting snow. The important part, however, is that I didn’t feel particularly cold — a hoodie sufficed. I spent the rest of the academic year in my fall jacket. The winter one just never made it out of the closet.

During my sophomore year, I upgraded to the winter jacket. However, that meant I had full liberty to dress pretty sparsely underneath — summer tops with a winter jacket on top. I also remembered to wear snow boots this year.

As a junior, however, I’m freezing. Always. Maybe it has to do with how the light inside of me has died or how I am filled to the brim with chilling resentment towards many things, including but not limited to: 12-to-15-page papers, the arduous journey from Seelye Hall to Wright Hall (thanks to the Neilson construction), colonialism and internship applications.

I was trudging around in my winter coat in October, before any signs of snow, and also invested in three more jackets for all my winter moods: freezing but willing to look on the bright side, freezing and ready to hit the books, freezing but happy and double-freezing.

On a more serious note, I struggle to understand how homeostasis, or whatever mix of biological and psychological factors, affects my body’s varying ability to deal with the cold. The only thing that has remained constant is my undying loyalty for the Celsius scale. Friends from other countries which are also loyal to the Celsius scale have since defected to Fahrenheit. The large numbers on their weather apps make no sense to me.

I suppose that makes the thermometer the most effective way I make sense of the New England winter — how anticlimactic.