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The Dartmouth
April 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dear Mirror: Making the Most Out of Winter

One writer offers advice on figuring out how to enjoy the colder and gloomier months.


Dear Mirror,

I don’t have the best track record with winters at Dartmouth. In past winters in Hanover, I always end up holed up in my room for what feels like days on end. This year I want it to be different, but I don’t know how. I’m from a much warmer place, and I feel like I never fully  adjusted to the weather here. How does someone enjoy winter when everything feels so dark and gloomy all the time? 


Winter Worrier

Dear Winter Worrier,

This sentiment truly resonates with me. I’m from somewhere just as cold as New Hampshire, and I still sometimes feel like I’m battling the urge to retreat into my room and never return. It’s so much easier to just hermit away, but it’s worth the effort to try not to.

Winter term usually starts out okay. You’re excited to be back from a long winterim; you haven’t seen your friends in a while. You make plans for the first week or two, and you vow to make the most out of winter. Then as the weeks drag on, suddenly making those plans doesn’t feel worth it anymore — you don’t want to go out to frats and risk losing your jacket, you don’t want to brave the cold and study anywhere but your room. Slowly, slowly, but then all at once, winter eats away at you.

It can get increasingly harder to make these deliberate plans, but this intentionality is ultimately the key to surviving and thriving during winter. It’s important to have things to look forward to — when you’re holed up at the library, you can at least think about cooking with friends later or watching a movie.

Aside from planning coffee dates or board game nights, take advantage of Dartmouth and Hanover programming. When you stop and read a couple of listserv emails, you’ll realize that there are always events going on. Obviously there are winter activities like sledding and going to the Skiway and whatnot, but there is also so much more. You could finally go see a Hood Museum exhibit, or maybe attend a lecture held by a department that you don’t know much about, or go to that Book Arts workshop class or see a live band at Sawtooth. There are fun and unique things to do in Hanover if you seek them out. Once you start putting the effort in, it will feel like these special moments come to you, and suddenly you have too many events you want to go to.

Part of this intentionality during the winter is working with the little daylight that we have. I hate to be the one to say it, but waking up earlier in the winter will make you feel better. I know, I know, it’s annoying, but it works. When the sun sets at 4 p.m., every single hour of daylight is worth it. It feels a lot better if your day starts by 9 a.m. and you have at least seven hours of daylight, rather than having less than five.

Winter may never be perfect, but if you look closely, you’ll see that it can be just as enjoyable as any other season in Hanover. It might be harder to look for the fun, but it’s there. 



Jessica Sun Li

Jessica Sun Li '24 is a sociology major and English minor from the suburbs of Chicago. She is currently the Arts editor, and her passion project is the "Dear Mirror" column. Outside of The Dartmouth, she is involved in the figure skating team and sociology research. She really wants to adopt a cat.