Winter is Coming: 8 Ways to Know The Cold Is Near

Fall has been in full swing for about a month here in Happy Valley, and that can only mean one thing: The endless mix of cold weather is on the way. It’s sad, I know, but it’s inevitable. Even worse than winter itself is being unprepared for the season, waking up one day freezing in your bed, and wondering what all that white stuff outside is. We at Onward State have prepared you with some warning signs that the cold is coming:

1. People start talking about heated sidewalks.

Much like the Loch Ness Monster, the JoePa statue, and “synergy,” Penn State’s heated sidewalks are oft talked about, but nobody really knows whether or not they exist. Like something out of a snarky article about ideal senior gifts, heated sidewalks sound like heaven, but in reality only kind of melt snow on the sidewalks in certain areas. Whether their lore has the merit that tour guides give them or not, come the cold weather, you’re sure to hear chatter about them around campus.

2. CATA buses become uncomfortably crowded.

Sadly, as the weather gets colder, freshmen also start realizing that CATA buses are more than just a convenient shuttle to and from a party on those nights when you’re too drunk to walk more than 10 feet. With both Blue and White Loop stops outside East Halls, freshmen slowly start taking over the buses and leave no space for others. Much like a groundhog determines the remainder of winter, the season officially starts two weeks after the first freshman is overheard talking about how he had no idea how close to the Forum the White Loop would take him.

3. Girls do weird fashion things.

I’m probably the least qualified person to comment on what’s “hip” or “fashionable,” but when I asked people what lets them know winter is on the way, they said that girls wear Uggs. Like those things that were popular in middle school. I’m not normally one to become nostalgic, but shit, that was at the very least six years ago, and Uggs were weird then, too. Also, as my yoga partner and Onward State photographer Morton Lin pointed out: girls dress like Han Solo, which is weirdly accurate.

4. People start complaining about finals.

It’s okay to admit you’re part of this group. In fact, the only people who don’t complain are those who spend all their time studying and/or seniors who don’t have any exams. You’re clearly part of this group because you’re reading Onward State, most likely to distract yourself from the impending havoc your midterm is going to impose on your GPA as well as your hopes and dreams. But finals-bitching is of a special sort, the kind that begins weeks in advance, usually coinciding with the beginning of the cold season. Legend has it that two days after the first time someone asks if your final is cumulative, the daily high dips below 40 degrees.

5. You lose all will to go to classes.

Unless you’re part of the group of people that never had the will to go to classes, this is probably your breaking point. That small part of you that said, “Walk to class while it’s still nice out,” is replaced by a fear of the outdoors that only your warm bed can cure. You can probably still swing a C if you go once a week, leaving the rest of your time for important things, like hibernation.

6. It snows prematurely and everyone freaks out. 

“But Mike, you big dumb idiot, if it’s snowing that means it’s already winter.” I see your point, Internet commenter, but this is no ordinary snow. This snow is the one that comes for like 45 minutes at the most in the beginning or middle of November, causing everyone to freak out about how this is going to be the coldest winter ever, or how they’re going to be miserable with all the snow all winter, or how there’s going to be so much snow this winter that it will eventually organize itself and overthrow the University, becoming the chilly overlords of Centre County. Of course, it then goes right back to the mid 40s and low 50s and we get one extra week of fall.

7. The Earth’s northern hemisphere begins to tilt farther away from the sun.

I mean, everyone knows this one. It’s a scientific fact.

8. Countdowns to Thanksgiving begin.

Despite the holiday technically occurring in autumn, State College already starts to go into its annual and endless freeze. When the countdowns to family photos, turkey selfies, and tweets about food babies start, you can pretty much preemptively curl into the fetal position and start crying about how it’s not warm anymore.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Mike Reisman

is a senior Supply Chain Management major with an Economics minor (Read: Business Douche) from South Jersey. He has an intense fear of graduating so please don't bring it up. He writes about stupid things nobody cares about, and student life if the site is low on content that is clearly supposed be funny but is really very unfunny. He is lovingly (?) known around the staff as Baby Mike which may or may not be because he has a child (hint: it’s not). He’s also a second generation Penn Stater who has been wearing Penn State sweatshirts since before he was two, a habit he hasn’t grown out of. If you really hate yourself, you can follow him on twitter at @mike_reisman or email him at [email protected]

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