Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current Arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an Arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author.
Edmonton’s climate can sometimes be a little hard on morale. You can give yourself positive pep-talks and put up motivational posters all you want, but then come the weeks where it’s -20 for days, it’s dark when you leave and dark when you come home and there’s no end in sight until late March at the earliest (and that’s being optimistic!). An Edmonton winter is a long time to mope though, so short of curling up under a quilt and hibernating until the city seems more fit for human habitation, what’s a shivering student to do?
The first (and, in my opinion, best) option is to take a deep breath, bundle up snugly and venture out to embrace the cold. Although I know many Edmontonians would steadfastly disagree with me on this, there is fun to be had outside in the snow. Hawrelak Park’s beautiful pond is open for skating as soon as the ice is thick enough (check the City of Edmonton website for updates on skating conditions) and is only about a twenty minute walk from campus. If you’re willing to hop on a bus or a train, you can also head across the river to the Victoria Oval or to the skating rink on the Legislature grounds.
If skating’s not your thing, the city also maintains toboggan hills at Emily Murphy Park and Government House Park (both parks are just off Groat Road). Skiing and snowboarding are a fun option too, whether you head for ski hills in the city or out to the Rockies for a weekend. The U of A Ski and Snowboard Club organizes trips to the mountains throughout the winter if you’re looking for people to go with, or to save money through group deals. Lastly, the U of A campus itself looks beautiful under a dust of snow, so embracing the cold could be as simple as taking a study-break stroll around the university.
But I can already hear your protests: What about when it’s really cold? Bone-chilling, nose-hurting, I-can’t-believe-anyone-lives-here cold? It’s true that it can sometimes be challenging to hold off the double whammy of study burn-out and cabin fever, but there’s always plenty going on in the great indoors at U of A and around the city.
The Students’ Union, for example, kicks off the start of winter semester every year with their AntiFreeze event, a week-long team competition comprised of various crazy challenges. Or, if you’re more like me and would prefer to watch other people do the crazy things, Edmonton’s thriving theatre scene is in full swing during the winter months. The U of A’s Drama department stages Studio Theatre plays throughout the year in the Timms Centre on campus, meaning that you don’t have to venture far in the snow to be entertained. To laugh away your winter blahs, I’d also recommend heading downtown to catch some improv with Rapid Fire Theatre at the Citadel.
If all my suggestions still can’t lift you out of your winter blues, there’s still one more option: plot your escape. For a short-term fix, an afternoon surrounded by plants at the Muttart Conservatory can have definite restorative effects on a frostbitten soul. And for those who have truly had enough, it’s time to sit down with a hot cup of tea and scheme to avoid next year’s winter — U of A Study Abroad deadlines are rapidly approaching if you have fantasies of spending next January in Australia.
So welcome to winter’s long reign and try to enjoy it a little — at least until February, when even the most enthusiastic of us start to complain.