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It’s finally fall

| Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fall has officially — and finally — arrived.

I’d venture to say most would agree with the former part of that statement, though perhaps not the latter. As we get further and further into the school year, a few more leaves fall to the ground and the temperature drops a little more each day, calling to mind the impending winter to come.

I remember this feeling — both excited and apprehensive, simultaneously melancholic and wondrous — last year. Approaching my first winter in South Bend, I was filled with premonitions from upperclassmen who warned of months of misery ahead. So, with their words in mind, I cautiously made my way through winter and, believe it or not, made it out on the other side.

This year, I am not approaching winter with fear of the unknown, but with the very real memory of walking home late at night as shards of snow hit my frozen face, of trudging through sludge trying not to miss an early class, of wearing the same coat every day for nearly three months straight. Yet, I am also reminded of the silent calmness that comes with walking across an untouched blanket of snow. I remember buying hot chocolate after hot chocolate at late November football games. I think of layering my favorite scarves and sweaters with my best hats and gloves. While winter held some of the worst memories of freshman year, it also carried some of its best.

I hate the idea of the South Bend “permacloud” coming to suck out all the light from campus. If only more people understood that even when light doesn’t come from the sun, it can be found in the Christmas lights hanging in your dorm room or a smile peeking through a bundled scarf and hood. As opposed to thinking of South Bend’s winter as Notre Dame’s shortcoming, I see it as one of the ways this university truly makes its mark on the hearts of its students. There is a sense of solidarity found in what some call the “suffering” of winter, whether it be huddling in the student section during a freezing fourth quarter or spending the entire weekend in your dorm because it’s just too cold to venture anywhere else. Moments like these wouldn’t stand out against a background of blue skies. They are created in below-freezing temperatures, and we should be grateful for it. The “awful” weather doesn’t detract from the Notre Dame experience nearly as much as some make it seem. In fact, I would argue that it makes the Notre Dame experience. In the dead of winter, this campus comes alive. So, as the days get colder, let’s remind ourselves of the warmth that comes with winter and truly appreciate all this place has to offer.

Nicole Simon can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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