Why Winter Isn’t That Bad

A time filled with snow, traditions, and fun

By Zoe Shafiezadeh November 14, 2023
Why Winter Isn't That Bad

As fall comes to an end and winter is right around the corner, it’s easy to dread the coming months. The trees lose all their leaves, the days get shorter, and the cold never quits. This can be a hard time of year for everyone, especially students who have never lived in a cold climate before. However, there are many great things about winter that can be overlooked. Outside of the usual joy that comes with the holiday season, Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan have many traditions and hidden gems that make the season a welcome change.

One of the best parts of this season is the natural beauty of campus as soon as it’s hit by a fresh layer of fluffy snow. The Law Quad is one of the most beautiful places on campus on a regular day in Ann Arbor but during the snowy season, it is transformed into a winter wonderland. The trees devoid of leaves have been filled with tiny crystallized droplets of water, making them feel full of life again. The entire quad is covered in a warm yellow glow coming through the stained glass windows to complete the ambiance. Campus also becomes the perfect place to build snowmen because of the large flat areas that are covered with packing snow. Whether it's in the Law Quad, Diag, or surrounding the residence halls, at any point during winter you can find teams of students working together to make the biggest snowmen possible. Another place you may not think you would go during this winter is the Arb, but it's actually one of the best places to go for a walk or utilize the hilly environment for sledding. Outside of snowman building, sledding is the second most common winter pastime for students around campus. If you are unable to make it to the Arb, many students can also be seen sledding down the hills surrounding the Mojo (Mosher-Jordan) and Alice Lloyd residence halls.

Law Quad in winter.

Snowman building and sledding are not the only winter activities that students can partake in around campus during this time. You may consider snowball fights something for children but at the University of Michigan it's a rite of passage you have to join at least once during your time here. Although the exact time changes every year, around January-February, the annual snowball fight happens in the Diag. Hundreds of students ranging from first-years to graduates join together to form two giant teams split down the center of the Diag. You can practically feel the anticipation in the air as students build forts to hide behind and form smaller groups within teams to work together. Friends split up to play against each other and join forces with people they most likely would have never interacted with. Eventually, once enough people have gathered, teams have had time to prepare, and people are anxiously waiting, someone finally makes the call to begin the fight. The Diag descends into chaos as snowballs fly in every direction, people are laughing and yelling excitedly as they hit or get hit by their friends. The event will only last for about 30 minutes, but it will be one of the most memorable moments at the University of Michigan.

If giant snowball fights and walking around campus in the cold aren’t for you, there is still a lot to look forward to that you can enjoy around campus. In the dining halls, they often set up festive meals for different holidays including turkey for Thanksgiving and latkes for Hanukkah. A fan favorite is usually the make-your-own hot chocolate stations they set up in December that are perfect for taking to go study or cozying up in your room. You can also go to one of the many student government-run events like a festive movie night or cookie decorating. No matter how you want to spend your time this winter, there is something for everyone on campus or in the city of Ann Arbor. Take advantage of the cold and enjoy a unique magical season in the best place in the world.

Zoe Shafiezadeh
Zoe Shafiezadeh

Zoe Shafiezadeh is a current sophomore studying communications and mass media with a certificate in sales and marketing from the Ross School of Business. Zoe is originally from Palos Verdes, California, a suburb of Los Angeles where she loves to spend time at the beach or going on hikes. In addition to working as a marketing and media assistant for the Office of Enrollment Management, she is also a communications assistant for Michigan Medicine, as well as a member of Sport Business Association and Alpha Delta Pi.