Sunshine Through Slush

           To those of you who are newcomers to New York City as I was just fourteen months ago, let me tell you that few things are as daunting and dizzying as NYC in the winter. Swirling snow on city sidewalks with minimal plowing are an everyday presence along with the withdrawal of the friendly faces in Washington Square Park (and, unfortunately, the puppies that often come along with them).  Like the formerly radiant leaves on the trees, the lively nature of NYU’s campus seems to become fossilized under a dense layer of snow and ice. The experience can be alienating and sometimes even dangerous, both physically and psychologically.

            Last year's (my freshman year’s) winter was no joke, even for an Ohioan such as myself. Like, polar vortex? Yeah, pass. However, I emerged from the first half of my spring semester with a feeling of achievement and enlightenment towards how to overcome the seasonal struggles that come along with winter at NYU. Here are my favorite ways to brighten up the dreariness of winter on campus! Though not prescriptive, they’re definitely pep-bolstering and can help you rock your way into the spring.

 

  1. Take control of your living space.

  • Keep your blinds partially open when you go to sleep! This will help you regulate your sleep cycle and will prevent you from accidentally squandering away your already-limited number of daylight hours.
  • My roommates and I like to keep flowers in our room just to keep an element of freshness alive!
  • Make sure you’re fully stocked with tea, hot chocolate, and other warm treats. It’s good to be prepared, people, you never know when you’re going to get snowed in (or snowed into in your Chinatown dorm).

 

       2. Embrace opportunities for festivity!

 

Even though the weather may be terrifying, the city really makes a valiant effort to bring the holiday magic! Maybe I’m just a human Hallmark card, but I can’t think of anything more cheerful than that.

 

  • Rockefeller Center (obviously), Bryant Park ice skating, all the fancy 5th avenue stores, Central Park ice skating, and the Union Square Christmas Market are all classic staples of the NYC/NYU holiday season.
  • If you have a TV in your room and are really feeling it, leave ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas on during and before finals—what better background noise could you ask for?

 

       3. Take it day-by-day.

 

It’s easy to feel like the world is closing in on you between classwork, extra curricular activities, social obligations, AND living in one of the most hectic places in the world. Having lived in the already notoriously depressing Weinstein Hall, I know firsthand what it’s like to feel like you’re trapped.

 

  • Make a little itinerary in your planner (or maybe the Notes app on your phone, as I prefer) listing out exactly what you want to get done on a given day. It’ll help you feel a sense of purpose and productivity.
  • Similarly, if you’re a highly emotional person or an extrovert, keeping a journal can make a WORLD of a difference.
  • Make exciting plans and keep aware of them! Whether it’s a concert or a Broadway show or visiting a friend, having something to look forward to is a great way to keep yourself motivated.

    4.  Realize that you’re not alone.

 

As it’s been immortalized in writing about a thousand times, you probably have read that NYU’s infamous lack of community is one of the major challenges of attending the university— in the wintertime, this supposed lack of fellowship can feel especially bitter. However, it’s important to realize that more people that you could ever imagine are struggling with these same issues of isolation and academic doom during the winter months. Reaching out to a friend, a roommate, your RA or even the Health Center is completely acceptable and absolutely crucial if you’re having serious trouble getting through the season.

5.Keep your eyes on the prize.

 

Admittedly, this article has been extremely antagonizing of the wintertime experience at NYU. However, the snow and ice can bring a certain sense of peace to the Village that one doesn’t otherwise experience. Beyond this, at the end of the day, winter is just a season, and seasons change and evolve into something beautiful if you’re just patient enough. Just keep your little chin up and the snow will be gone before you know it.