When you live on campus, changes in season mean different clothes. Maybe a hat, an umbrella, colorful boots. Off campus, it can mean being trapped in the house or not being able to take a shower because the pipes froze. Being prepared for these changes is important to your ability to function and your mental stability.
Winter: When everything dies, including your happiness
Your house is going to be cold. Unspeakably cold. Consider getting a space heater for individual rooms so that you can keep the heat at reasonable temperatures and hopefully the bill at bay. Make sure you have the don’t-burn-the-house-down talk with your housemates so that they turn off their heaters before leaving the house.
Apparently it now snows heavily in central Jersey. Who knew? Unless you are incredibly fortunate to have a landlord that takes care of snow, you are going to need shovels and possibly road salt. Also, don’t assume that anyone is going to plough your road. Certain roads don’t exist to Ewing Township. On the off chance that conditions get bad enough that the roads are ploughed, make sure no one is parked in the street. Otherwise neighbors’ whose sides of the road weren’t ploughed may hate you forever. Your neighbors may gather in each other’s driveways and discuss their mutual hatred of the punk kids in the house with the inconsiderate car parked in the road.
Also, since your car no longer enjoys the shelter of a parking garage, make sure you have an ice scraper handy and afford generous amounts of time to free your car from the icy elements.
Spring: Your bicycle and you
After moving off campus, my most treasured possession became something unusual — my bicycle.
Ideally, your off-campus digs will be within walking or bike riding distance from campus. As we are on the cusp of spring, the weather will soon be nice enough to abandon your gas monsters and enjoy fresh air before being trapped in the classroom. It’s better for your wallet, oh and that pesky global warming thing.
Your bike can also be a godsend for your physical and mental health. Parking at the College is a nightmare. Avoid near head-on collisions with maniac classmates in Lot 6 and arriving to class a frustrated, late mess. Plus, riding a bike makes you look more intelligent because you appear environmentally conscious, and people think you are at least trying to be physically fit. And since you’re on a bicycle — presumably with a destination — you don’t have talk to anyone to disprove these deductions. “Winning.”
Just be sure to invest in a sturdy lock because otherwise, your bike will be stolen, even if it’s a who-in-the-world-would-want-this contraption with handbrakes that don’t even work. It’s a scary world.
Summer: Hot, hot, hot
Remember those first few weeks of freshman year, when you not only had to adjust to sharing a small space with a stranger, but you were trying to hide the fact that you were sweating like crazy because August and dorm rooms are a horrible combination? Well, prepare to have hot-flash flashbacks. If you live in a sweltering hobbit house like me, things can get pretty swampy. Depending on your particular situation, window unit air conditioners are wonderful and not too expensive. It will spike the electric bill slightly, but will be comparatively small to the heating bill. It’s worth it.
This is the baby bear porridge of seasons. Don’t even bother buying a rake. Enjoy the weather while it lasts. See? I can be positive.
Katie Brenzel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.