I hate the winter.
Last year, Boston set city records with 110.6 inches of snow, and I groaned about it the entire time. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, having grown up in southern New Hampshire, but the snow, ice and slush drive me crazy every year.
Winter is back in full force, but I’m determined to actually enjoy it this year. I’ve been reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor (a really incredible book), and one part really stood out to me: the idea that we can train our brains to look for the good or the bad.
Achor explains that there are people who immediately identify the negative every time they enter a room: instead of “doesn’t the snow look pretty?”, they say “it’s so cold!”
When I read this, I immediately knew I was guilty of habitually noticing the bad. It isn’t even purposeful: during the winter months, small talk just seems to naturally gravitate towards gripes about the weather. But after years of this, my brain has been trained to automatically spot the bad.
And even worse: according to Achor, that negative thinking impacts your productivity at work and school, and the productivity of those around you!
This year, I’m determined to train my brain to look for the good. I’m determined to rediscover the magic of winter. To start reframing my mindset, I wanted to remind us all about the perks of winter in New England.
- Sitting by Fireplaces (to Warm up from Snowball Fights)
The Student Center’s recent renovations include—you guessed it—a fireplace (and an outdoor fire pit!) Growing up, I always loved grabbing a book and blanket and relaxing by the fireplace as the snow fell. It’s such a peaceful feeling to be all toasty inside and protected from the cold outside.
See out all the great new additions to the Student Center.
Another perk? The Student Center is right next to the Green Space, where impromptu snow ball fights are common.
- Shoveling Snow in the Morning
Okay, no one’s going to believe that I actually like shoveling snow, but remember I’m trying to find the silver lining here!
I recently shared my New Year’s resolutions for my last semester at Bentley, and one of them was to get healthier. Shoveling my car out every morning is a great way to get fit!
I also try to give myself a small reward afterwards by turning on my coffee maker before heading out to shovel. That way, it’s ready to warm me up when I get back inside, and I even add some French Vanilla flavor to make it extra-special.
- Ice Skating
I’ve recently discovered how much I love to ice skate (though I’m admittedly terrible at it), so I’ve been trying out nearby skating rinks. There are several with public skating hours near Bentley, including Veteran’s Memorial Skating Rink in Waltham.
I’m also looking forward to skating on the famous Frog Pond in the Boston Common soon, where you get to skate outside with the gorgeous Boston skyline surrounding you! I’ve walked by it many times, but now that I’m learning how to skate I can’t wait to use the rink myself.
- Snow Days
So let’s hope no Professors are reading this one…!
Everyone loves a good snow day, and for good reason: one every once in a while is exciting. The anticipation among students engulfs the campus. Students post to social media all night, reminding one another of silly superstitions like sleeping with a spoon under your pillow to ensure snowfall.
Of course, you’re never quite sure if the snow will warrant a day off, and that’s why they’re so special. Because I have to assume I’ll have school, I still complete all my work the night before. Then, when the day off is announced, I have an entire day to myself. I can relax, read, bake—anything to enjoy my day off and stay indoors.
- Visiting Museums
Driving in the snow can be difficult, but with Bentley’s free shuttle to Harvard Square, I can get into the city without the hassle. Museums are the perfect escape for any kind of bad weather—I used to spend hours in them on rainy days in London!
And the museums in Boston are some of the best in the world (though I may be a little biased.) The Institute for Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts are two of my favorites. The Museum of Science is also incredibly cool, and a popular destination for both kids and adults. Finally, the Isabella Gardner Museum has been on my list of must-sees for a few years now.
Of course, there are many more museums to explore, and the Bentley library has free or reduced-price tickets to almost every museum nearby!