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As you trudge down Middle Path, the uninvited winter chill seems to be making itself at home in the tips of your fingers and toes, leaving no room for body heat. Whether you’re hurrying to preserve that last ounce of feeling in your ears, or simply scrambling not to slip on the ice, the only goal left in your mind from the second you leave class is getting inside again. In rural Ohio, the rush to get inside is seasonal, however, as a New Yorker (Long Island, but still), it is a constant all year round.



I recently realized that, although I am shorter than most of my friends, my legs seem to carry me ahead of them. They say that there is always that one friend who awkwardly walks behind the others when the path is not wide enough to fit them all. However, my issue seems to be quite the opposite. While leading the way for friends may not seem dorky from an outside perspective, it can sure feel uncomfortable to have to look back not only when I speak, but every time I want to hear what my friends are saying. Not to mention that I am already soft spoken and also tend to stumble when I am not (in fact, even when I am) concentrating on where my feet are landing — or not landing — in front of me. The struggle between walking forwards and addressing a group behind me makes me feel like a tour guide trying unsuccessfully to crack jokes with a prospie group conversing behind me.


While survival in the frigid cold is probably more likely if I keep walking quickly, I’ve decided to invest in a warm pair of earmuffs and force myself to slow down. The pace at which I walk is like the pace at which I breathe, but I have actively been making an effort to adjust it. While the nerves in the tip of my nose have been less present, my attention to what goes on around me has been more concentrated. Rather than rushing past everything my environment has to offer, I now make sure to walk side-by-side with people and be more engaged in between class conversations with eye contact (while desperately hoping not to break it with a clutzy injury). Overall, I have felt more personable and less stressed about having to speed around the slower people walking in front of me on Middle Path.


Although this may not even seem like a remote possibility for those who get cold easily or come from warm places, I challenge you all to take one day to actually enjoy your walks back and forth between buildings. Grab a friend and have a meaningful conversation on your way to Peirce or stick some headphones in your coat pocket and pay attention to the way the snow covers the tree branches. You have 24 hours. Go.


Image credits: Giphy.com

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