Surviving Night School - Winter Edition

For many of us students, the new year signifies the beginning of a new school period.  My winter quarter starts in 2 weeks, and I am dreading the thought of having to trek through the cold to go back and forth to my night classes. 

Wintertime in upstate NY is a crisis I’ve had to deal with my whole life, and I’m still not used to it.  The winter wonderland is beautiful on postcards.  When the Christmas lights that adorn my bushes reflect upon the ice and snow at night, I really feel like I’ve warmed some random passerby’s heart.  I admire the beauty of the evergreens as they contrast with the white snow.  Wintertime here, in my opinion, is only nice when you’re inside a heated building.  Otherwise, it can be treacherous.  I say this as I sit inside typing on my laptop, while my husband is outside shoveling the driveway.

In the wintertime, walking from my car to class, I think about how I would love to be snuggled up at home with my family, and watching the nightly news with a steaming cup of green tea and honey, looking like someone’s grandma.  In retrospect, I realize there’s plenty that I could’ve done to make the winter quarter less unpleasant and more productive. 

Here are a few of my suggestions:

  1. Bring a thermos to class:
    • I’m a tea drinker.  A good green tea, mint, ginger or lemon tea usually does the trick for me.  Whatever your hot beverage of choice, I promise you it will be just the warmth your frigid body needs during that 3-hour lecture.  I’m not sure about your school, but the classrooms at my institution tend to vary in temperature, usually either too hot or too cold.  I should’ve added “complain to administration about the building heat” as a suggestion, but seriously the coordinators usually have limited control as most of them are sitting behind space heaters most of the day.  I’m planning to get a new thermos before school starts next week, or if anyone feels like they owe me a late Christmas gift, I’d be more than happy to accept.  Purple is my favorite color.  Also, on the economical side, refilling your thermos is cheaper than always running to Starbucks/Dunkin/Timmyhos everyday for a hot cup that usually runneth over onto all of your things!  I have witnessed people spilling their dunkin coffee all over their laptops.  I’m just saying.  I’m here for the thermos.
  2. The Full Armor of Winter Gear
    • Maybe my school doesn’t do a good job of informing students of the winters we experience in upstate.  I have seen kids on campus wearing basketball shorts in the middle of a snowstorm (yes we have class during blizzards) with a thin hoodie on.  I would really love to know what it’s like to live in a climate where I can wear hoodies and sweats outside all of the time, but this place isn’t it.  It's all about the puffy down coats.  I will gladly look like I gained all of my weight back if it means my chest isn’t exposed to the icy arctic air.  I need the full armor, including hats, gloves, ear muffs, scarves, boots, and under that layers on layers on layers. There’s no need to come to class and you can barely feel your hands. These days I’m rocking full outfits under my business casual: tanks, t shirts, leggings, all that.  It’ll keep your warm both inside and outside.  

  3. Bring Dinner / Large Snack to class: 
    • It is difficult to concentrate in class when you’re hungry.  For me it’s torturous.  This isn’t unique to the winter really, but it just seems like a double whammy when walking to your car after school, freezing and starving.  Baked chips won’t do.  I need some fiber and protein to help me out.  I’ll admit, at first I thought it was rude that some of my classmates were pulling out their Tupperware and silverware during class, and then I came to my senses.  This a 3 hour class and I deserve.  I started packing food for class.  I’d warm it up during the class break, and found that class was more bearable on a full stomach.

  4. Limit Distractions at Home
    • I’ve always been a big proponent of heading to the library to study.  However, making the commute to the library in 4 degrees is something I generally am never motivated to do.  I tend to study once everyone has gone to bed, because the concept of me being inaccessible while at home is a joke to my loved ones.  Even with everyone asleep, I still struggled to get in a productive study session.  2 hours would pass and I had barely accomplished anything.  Imagine how my study sessions turned around when I turned off the TV.  I don't know why I ever thought I could watch Love & Hip Hop and try to memorize accounting principles simultaneously.  

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Night school is tough. The winter, from my personal experience, can make it even more burdensome.  I am learning to adapt ways to make my experiences better, because while I can't make night school an exciting 3 hour block, it definitely doesn't have to be terrible.  

Enjoy the rest of your break.  The impending quarter is upon us. 

Mrs. Ngradschool, winter, mommyblogger