My first winter was both magical and miserable. Being from Southern California, I don’t really get to experience the four seasons. The environment is actually one of the reasons I chose to go to Middlebury; I wanted know what it would be like to shop for winter clothes instead of shorts and tank tops.
Little did I know what Middlebury winters would be like. I was convinced—and remain convinced—that my first winter was, by far, the worst winter Vermont has ever experienced. It started out innocently enough; a gradual drop in temperature, some flurries of snow here and there. And then, during finals week in December, I walked into a 7 pm exam and walked out two and a half hours later to find myself almost knee deep in snow. It was magical; I took my time walking back to my dorm, opening my mouth to let the delicate snowflakes fall and melt on my tongue. And then the wind picked up and I was nearly blinded by all the snow. I also did not have enough layers on, as I had made the mistake of not checking the weather for that night.
So, on the run back to my room, I was not very happy with the show. My thoughts went from “Why did I decide to come here?” to thinking I had made a mistake, and that I could not actually handle the weather. When I got back to my dorm, my friends were rushing to put on snow gear. “Toni, let’s go sledding!” they yelled ecstatically. Just having come from outside, I was not sure I wanted to go back out again. But, part of me was curious, since I had never really experienced snow fall. So, I changed into my snow pants, boots, and jacket, and ran outside with my friends.
We walked (with our sleds borrowed from our Commons office) to Mead hill, and started at the top near where our lovely Mead Chapel sits. I remember being scared, because I was not sure if there was a wrong or right way to sled down a mountain. But, once my turn finally came, I went down the hill so fast I felt like I was flying. And I felt like I was 10 years old again. We spent about an hour and a half outside until our fingers were numb and our ski pants soaked. The dining hall was open late, so we decided to go in for some hot chocolate together.
I distinctly remember sitting around the table, laughing and talking with my friends, and then remembering that THIS was the reason I had decided to come to Middlebury. I had wanted a new experience, with new people, and my first time experiencing snow was exactly that. Although winters can be tough, my best memories are about my winters at Middlebury, and I am very excited (and sad) to spend my last winter at Middlebury enjoying it to the fullest.