It's not winter unless your nostrils freeze shut.
Yep, that's right. For anyone who's never experienced temperatures below zero, it gets cold - and I mean COLD - in Minnesota. The worst of the weather started up mostly over the course of this week, snow piling and piling while the wind buffets your face, feeling like thousands of needles prodding at your skin. For some people, it's what they've experienced all their lives. But for others, it's a completely new phenomenon, and it's NOT to be underestimated.
A coat is a must. Gloves are as well, and it'd be smart to invest in a warm hat that covers your ears. It may be a small campus, but a hike to class against the wind can feel like forever when it's -10 degrees. Minnesota sells some great winter gear, so if you don't come prepared, get prepared before the snow hits (and trust me, it can hit quickly). Everyone's different in terms of what they need, but it's better to get more and need less than vice-versa.
To help top off the chill are finals. At least it's good incentive to stay inside, although cooping yourself up in your room all day every day to study isn't the way to go, in my opinion. The Winter Ball, for instance, was a great way to blow off some steam. My girlfriend and I had a great time dancing, seeing friends, exploring the museum, and forgetting about schoolwork for a while. The last thing you want to do is burn out - especially when you're so close to the end of the semester!
Finally, the break. Oooh the glorious break. It lasts about a month, and is a time for students to see family and friends back home, maybe take a vacation somewhere, or even stay in Minnesota and do "J-term" internships. Despite the stress of exams and papers, everyone seems to stay relatively cheerful considering the season and the approaching winter break. I know I'll be having fun back in Nebraska doing some volunteer work and seeing some of my best friends from high school. Maybe next year I'll stay and do an internship in St. Paul, but for now I'm just looking forward to hot cocoa and stale Christmas specials on T.V.