The year is 2010 and students at St. Thomas have just returned for spring classes. Despite allowing astonishingly warm temperatures during fall semester, Mother Nature turned to the cold side over break and dropped piles of snow on campus.
Just three months ago, class-bound Tommies were spotted wearing skirts and flip-flops, taking full advantage of the early snow’s absence. But now those same students trek through the quads bundled from head to toe. Before, Frisbees and cookouts clouded students’ minds, but not any more. Sidewalks where sun once shined are flooded with the gray mush of trampled snow.
Now the undergraduates must face immense dilemmas. On any given day this winter, a St. Thomas student might encounter one of the following predicaments, all while fighting to stay warm and maintain their reputation. What would you do?
1. Hat hair or head warmth?
Although warmth may await in Owens Science Hall, the 10-minute trip to South Campus can take a toll on unprotected ears. Before taking off for class, you must prepare for the journey across campus, but the decision to put on a winter cap isn’t always so simple. You take a big gamble by adorning a hat before class. Granted, the cranial insulation might keep you toasty up top, but it can also wreak havoc on any decent hairdo. Which risk are you willing to take?
2. Boots with the fur or toes with the frost?
Not since Chuck Taylor’s came back during the high school days has footwear caused a commotion like UGG boots. Even Crocs can’t compete with the reputation of these fashionable, furry boots. Everyone that wears them praises their comfort and warmth. Everyone who doesn’t mocks their appearance and popularity. Insulating your toes in the winter is absolutely essential, but are you willing to accept all the connotations that come with sporting boots from a Flo Rida song?
3. Laugh out loud or lie on the inside?
You’re walking along the Summit Avenue pathway, and it happens. You want to laugh but are afraid of what people might think. (Schadenfreude is such a sticky subject.) What if you were one who just bit it hard on the ice? Surely, you’d be just as embarrassed, but you can’t help but laugh at the face he made when he hit the ground. Did you see the way he skated along for awhile, swinging his arms wildly to find balance? Hilarious! But good people don’t laugh at others’ misfortune. Aren’t you a good person?
4. Cover each finger individually or all together?
When the wind really picks up and the snow begins to pour, the last things you want exposed are your hands. Pockets might work for a while, but eventually the lining freezes and your fingers begin to turn purple. So you now have to choose – gloves or mittens? Each style has its own benefits. Gloves promote greater dexterity. But what if you want to make the perfect snowball? Mittens allow more internal heat exchange. But how will you use your touch screen? Decisions, decisions…
5. This jacket or that one?
Nowadays on campus, it’s not about whether or not you should get a North Face. The real issue is deciding which one you want. Lucky for you, the popular outfitter opened a shop right down Grand Avenue last spring. Instead of gawking at your classmate’s newer winter wear, you can walk a few blocks and pick one up for yourself. The choices really seem endless now. Black or brown? Quarter- or full-length zip? Hood or no hood? As long as the logo’s on the shoulder, you’re golden.
Grant Goerke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org