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April 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm
By Marlena Hartman-Filson, '13

Okay, guys. Here it is.

It's mid-April.

And it's winter.




Happy #SpringTermNoSpring.

We were all so excited about coming back from break to begin #SpringTermNoRules, but instead we got this:


In total, we got about seven inches of snow last week.

It began as rain...

It turned into sleet...

Which turned into ice...

Which turned into snow.

And more snow.

And more snow.

And you know what? It was really f*ing beautiful. 





There, I said it.

I loved the snow we got last week. I loved the big wet flakes, I loved the icicles hanging off the branches, I loved cuddling in bed and watching snow fall over Stadium, I loved the few intrepid creatures that braved the whiteness and carried on their springtime activities, I loved the mittens, I loved the hats, I loved the down coats. Most of all, I loved the dopey grins that everyone - professors, staff and students alike - had on their faces as they walked around the snowy campus. Even the birds looked bemused. After two winters in the Southern Hemisphere (winter=summer), I couldn't have been more excited about a little Carleton snow.

The best part was that it was Accepted Student Days. Over the course of the extended weekend, the campus (usually all green and flowery and springy by this time) is swarmed by parents and high school seniors carrying yellow folders stamped with the gold Carleton seal*. When I saw the prospective students and their families all bundled up, checking their schedules and looking at their maps in the snow, my initial reaction was guilt. Sort of like, "Gosh, I feel so bad. I wish I could have given them some better weather so that they don't think Carleton is in an awful frozen wasteland." I wanted to give them sunshine and frisbee tosses and Arb walks and class outside like in the Admissions packets they get. I just wanted them to like Carleton.

And then I remembered my own visit to Carleton as a prospective student. The Admissions brochure-unworthy weather was why I decided to come here in the first place. Carleton was the first school I visited. I thought the design of their mailings was really cool (don't judge), I started talking to the soccer coach, and I decided to spend a couple nights here in the winter of my junior year of high school. I can't remember if it was January or February when I visited, but I do remember this - on my campus tour, it was -37°F with windchill. I was wearing a fleece jacket, jeans and Converses. I spent two thoroughly enjoyable days and nights on campus, flew back to Colorado, and decided this:

If I could like the school when it was so cold it felt like my eyeballs were going to freeze, I could like it anytime. 

I decided I wanted to go to Carleton. 

And so, dear prospective students and parents, I'm not going to apologize for #SpringTermNoSpring. Don't freak out about the weather. Minnesota is not a frozen wasteland, I promise. Fall is colorful and wonderful. Spring is dazzling and exciting. If you decide you really don't like winter, you can always escape to warm places on study abroad trips. If you enjoyed your visit here during the snow, when the campus didn't look like the Admissions brochure pictures, when Minnesota weather didn't exactly put on lipstick and dress up for the occasion, you'll be just fine at Carleton.

I am, and it was the coldest weather I've ever been in when I visited.  



*Quick public service announcement to prospective students and parents. WE ARE NOT GOING TO HIT YOU ON OUR BIKES! If we're biking slowly behind you when you're walking on the sidewalk, there's no need to grab each other and leap into the snowbank. Just hang tight, maybe move over to one side of the pavement, and continue walking. In my four years at Carleton, I have never hit a pedestrian or been hit by a biker (as a pedestrian**).

**I have been hit as a biker by a biker, but that's only because they were checking themselves out in the reflective windows of the Arena Theater. Classic.  



  • April 24 2013 at 9:06 am
    Dave Simon

    Nice piece of writing, Marlena.  We visited this past weekend (first time for me, third for my wife Debbie), and it snowed eight inches the day we came in, again Sunday morning as we were about to go back to the airport (to fly back to balmy Grapevine, Texas), and snow had to be plowed from the track so we cold watch the track meet in beautiful 40 degreee weather.  What stuck with me was one girl behind the track, out of the wind, catching some rays from the sun in the cold.  The atmosphere of Carleton includes those moments, and it makes it more diverse because students have to adjust to the weather.  Adjustment is a good thing, and a major part of college life.

    Dave Simon

    Grapevine, TX

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