A cure for the winter blues

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The Somervilles and family friends complete their annual New Year’s tradition. (Brigetta Somerville)


With the arrival of winter comes negative temperatures, heavy snowfall and slippery road conditions. The beauty of winter can sometimes be overshadowed by these winter blues.  However, plenty of students have unique and exciting winter traditions to keep spirits bright.

 René Somerville is one such student who has a rather original annual New Year’s celebration.  The tradition began years ago when her mother and a group of friends were staying in a log cabin that accidentally burned down.  “I think they ended up being able to get a firetruck to come but…the building was most of the way burned down,” says Somerville.

 Since then, the Somervilles and their same group of friends meet up, build miniature cabins out of paper plates and cardboard, and burn them down to bring in the new year.

 “Sometimes, we all contribute to one big one sometimes we all make our own not-as-interesting ones.” Somerville says she’s aware of how strange it sounds to others, but her family uses it as a chance to catch up with friends. With a laugh, she swears she isn’t in a cult.

 Many other Metropolitan State University students and faculty have less flammable but equally splendid traditions.

 Qudsia Anjum goes to Florida the day after Fall Semester finals are over. She doesn’t care much for the snow or weather, and it gives her a reason to go on vacation. The weather does bring something enjoyable for her even if it means completely avoiding the winter.

 Linda Vue and her family have a changing tradition. They get together when they can during the winter months and do something different each year. Some years, Vue and her family will spend the day building a snowman or sledding, but this year, they attended the laser light show at the Como Planetarium.

Philip Fuehrer, Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership Development, “likes snow at the end of the day.” He always enjoys the change that winter brings and isn’t bothered by the cold. 

Leggese Gurmu is Ethiopian and a Coptic Christian. He says Christmas celebrations in America are a bit different from Ethiopia in that the good feeling and joy are spread throughout society instead of just in the homes of Christians. He considers winter to be very beautiful and loves interacting with the colors and lights.

Levante Pickett, a G4S security guard at Metro State, takes time around the first snowfall to play in the snow with his nieces and nephews.

“I love looking out the window,” says Fadumo Mohamed on appreciating the winter scenery. Mohamed has a bucket list, and snowboarding for the first time is something she hopes to cross off this year.

 Afrah Mohamed loves to take the opportunity to stay inside and watch family movies.

Jake Nadeau goes snowboarding with his family every year.

 On the surface, Minnesota winters are cold and dreary, but the students at Metro State don’t let that stop them from spreading joy and finding something to enjoy about the winter months. Often, they do so by spending time with loved ones or simply having a cup of hot cocoa. 

For anyone who feels they are about to be consumed by the winter blues, may these stories provide a way to get through the season.