By Bentic Sebastian
Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
C. S. Lewis
As an international student, before I came to college, I had never experienced icy winters. I was used to hot and humid weather, and part of the reason why I chose to attend the University of Illinois may have something to do with getting to touch snow for the first time in my life.
Before I started my freshman year here, I used to imagine what snow would feel like. From what I saw in the media, I imagined that snow was white, soft, and dry. I saw people dancing and running around in the snow, and felt jealous that I couldn’t experience those sensations myself. As I started to learn more about the United States though, I realized that very few people enjoyed winter as much as me. Frequently, my friends would remind that winters in Champaign were one of the coldest in the country. They were always surprised at my eager anticipation to their least favorite time of the year.
My parents knew that being too cold was not going to be comfortable (although I was pretty confident that I could handle any temperature!). So they bought me some winter apparel. I bought some essential winter clothing. This included snow boots, winter jackets, a hat, and thermal gloves. As the month of December emerged, I looked forward to the prospect of meeting snow for the first time.
One morning, I got up, and went straight to the window, and lo and behold, there it was! Snow all around! I hastily put on my snow-boots, a coat, and my camera, and rushed outside. As I went outdoors, the first thing that struck me was how much quieter and empty the area was. The squirrels were no longer scampering around. I eagerly took pictures of the pure white snow all around me.
I had never made a snowball, so I grabbed some snow. It wasn’t as soft as I expected it to be, but I eagerly tried to make a snowball. I held the finished snowball in my hands and looked at it for a few seconds, before realizing that my hands were becoming wet. I had forgotten to bring my gloves and my hat! The cool texture of the snowball changed to an unpleasant, burning sensation in my fingers. Having wet fingers is the last thing to have when you are in cold weather! It was not long before I went back into the warmth of my dormitory.
There has only been one snow day at the UIUC since 1979(on Feb 13th 2007). Having even a foot of snow does not stop our diligent professors from teaching, and from the Altgeld Bells from ringing. Along with all the academic activities that allowed me to develop myself, coming to a new place has helped me appreciate the different perspectives people have towards winter, snow, and thermal gloves!