I storm into the Student Center out of breath on a particularly crisp December morning. The cold rushes in behind me as I stomp my feet down to try and shed the inch of snow stuck to my boots. At least I’m inside, I thought as I headed up to the third floor. Plus, I managed to not spill the tea I carried with me. Jacqui, 1 – Snow, 0.
There is an open table nuzzled between a window and grandfather clock (and heater) that I decide to set up camp at. The view looks out to Dana Dining Hall and the bookstore, both of which are covered in a blanket of white. There are not many students walking by outside, but it is bustling in the Student Center. Friends laugh around a table while eating pizza. The steamer for coffee goes off with a loud screech. A long poster advertising one of the semester’s last big events crinkles as two girls hang it up over the banister. A boy shouts as he makes a shot at the ping-pong tables. Not one person exhibits any symptoms of the winter blues. We’re pros. St. Lawrence, 1 – Winter, 0.
With Finals Week coming up I doubt I will leave the Student Center all day, but I don’t mind. The cozy chair I’m in surrounds me as I sit down. There are smiling faces and laughter all around me, despite the stress of schoolwork. Two fireplaces are on. The winter, from the other side of the window, is beautiful. I lean back in my plush chair, sip my tea, and kick off my boots.
This leads me to another thought, why the heck is no one wearing shoes? As I look around, my exposed fuzzy polar bear socks are nothing out of the ordinary: the boy next to me has blue polka dot trouser socks, a girl reading on a couch has smart wool purple socks, another has funky argyle knee socks pulled up over her leggings, a lacrosse boy has red sweatpants tucked into white mid-calves.
Everyone always categorizes St. Lawrence as the unofficial Bean Boot capital, but little do they know its what’s under that defines us. Sure, the practical and prepared St. Lawrence student is always ready for what the day may bring, but there is a lot more underneath. There is an underlying layer of fun and spontaneity in every Laurentian. For me it’s my polar bear socks I got in Berlin, the Bear City, while studying abroad. They are my coziest socks with my favorite animal on them, so naturally I wear them to keep me motivated for finals. Sure, they are a little tacky, but I love it. I would have never dubbed the boy next to me as being a polka-dot fan, but now I feel as though I know a whole other side of him, and I don’t even know his name.
We all look a little ridiculous, but why should we care? We’re surrounded by friends. We’re comfortable. There is no need to keep big, thawing boots on. Just as it would be strange to lie on your couch at home, snuggled up to your dog with shoes on, it is weird to not get cozy at St. Lawrence. Your pseudo-family surrounds you. It’s your home.
As I walk past polka-dot boy to fill up my water bottle, he calls out, “Cool socks!”
“I love yours, too!” Just like that, I made a new friend. Fun socks, 1 - Boring boots, 0.