I wake up early one Monday morning in December. Even though I have Mondays free I always end up waking early because my roommate has an 8am class almost every day. Since I’m up anyway, I decide to check my emails for the day. I scroll through them until I see one that sparks my interest. “Classes cancelled today and tomorrow due to bad weather.” I’m excited. I may not have classes today, but I have three tomorrow that I’m not really prepared for yet (Mondays are when I do 90% of my work). My excitement is short-lived, however, when I see another email. “Correction – classes cancelled today until noon only.” This is what it’s like being a student at State University of New York: Binghamton. Here, temperatures regularly go as low as -20 Celsius, and it has been snowing on and off since before Thanksgiving (in November). It is rare we actually get snow days – we haven’t had a full day off yet. The weather is really making me miss California, where I was just a few short weeks ago while I was on winter break. When I was there I could walk around without wearing five layers of clothing, and I could drink iced coffee without thinking I might die. Still, it’s not all bad here.
Although we may have wind chill so cold you can get frostbite in fifteen minutes (seriously), everything else here is good. My classes are all fun and engaging, there are plenty of clubs and societies (AND you get free pizza and soda at every event you go to), the people in my dorm are lively and friendly, and – maybe most important – we are only a few hours from my favourite city in the world – New York City. From NYC, I can go almost anywhere, and I’ve been taking advantage as much as I can. So far I have been to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Austin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and tomorrow I am going to Nashville. All of these places had something special that I loved. In NYC, I love hanging around Manhattan and Queens, eating mac and cheese in ‘SMAC, looking at books in The Strand, and walking through Central Park. In Los Angeles, I loved seeing the beaches and stores in Beverly Hills. In San Francisco I saw the Painted Ladies and Pier 39. And in Toronto I loved seeing the Distillery district and Chinatown. (I could go on, but I won’t…) What has struck me so far about the US is that there’s so much to do. I only have a year here, but even if I were here forever I could never see all that there is to offer.