I hope everyone can take a break from the abysmal wasteland of anarchy that is, currently, Great Britain covered in under an inch of snow, to try and sympathize with a North-Eastern American rationalize the current weather status. Great Britain’s decent into chaos can only be attributed to one thing, and that is the piling up of under one inch of snow. Tesco shelves have been ransacked for ramen packets and back-up Tennents for the week, and students everywhere have barricaded up their dorms in pursuit of safety. Those living in student halls have seen massive amounts of Porters and staff personnel leave and those who are catered have seen cuts to the dining hours. Store fronts have shut and most horrifyingly of all: Deliveroo is down. This is my first winter in St. Andrews. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know it snowed in Scotland.
I do understand that it is a cold day, and as someone who lives 20 minutes from campus I enjoy the blustery walk just as much as every other suffering student, but something about the outcry baffles me. My best friend and I, who both come from Toronto and New York respectively, call days like this back home a “normal winter day.” Americans from the North East all across the university have been playfully teasing the chaos that this storm has induced. If anything, it does remind me of home, and snow is a certain weather condition that holds a place in my heart. North Americans and Canadians are no strangers to snow. It makes sense that, at a university with so many Americans, a lot of the students don’t see the hysteria behind the snow. The slew of headlines from BBC, The Telegraph, and other British news sources have fed into the mass hysteria currently spreading amongst Brits. Code red emergency warnings have been doled out from lecturers, staff, businesses, and son on, and it’s a reaction I haven’t exactly seen to snow since the infamous blizzard two years ago that brought over 3 feet of snow along the Northeast. A few inches is fun, something to be excited about.
To be fair, I’ve seen plenty of snow angels, snowmen, and snowball fights occur today, and I believe the students are all in good spirits. The nation as a whole, however, has seemed to reach a standstill when confronted with the conditions. Snow is something to be excited about, and not to fear. We all love a good snow day, but don’t feel the need to prepare for an impending apocalypse that is this polar vortex. While most American colleges in the Northeast and Canadian universities have been blanketed in snow since almost November, we’re quite lucky to only receive the final stretch of it.
So today has marked the day that I realize the British are perhaps a little dramatic about weather. Maybe it’s fair to criticize Americans for reacting similarly when it rains, but while I watch almost every service, amenity, and form of life shut down in response to the weather, all most Americans want to do is just show them a single picture of upstate New York in the winter.
Photo: Sasha Veliko-Shapko