Williamsburg suffered a downpour during orientation this year. All the incoming freshman, like myself, suffered, too. My first college days were characterized by dreariness: I hadn’t anticipated that life at the College of William and Mary would begin with rain-drenched treks across campus through muck behind over-enthusiastic upperclassmen for strangely scheduled mealtimes. In other words, rain made orientation exponentially worse, especially as I then lacked proper rainwear and a familiarity with Williamsburg weather.
Since that first weekend, though, I have — perhaps peculiarly — come full circle from angered annoyance to an appreciation for Williamsburg rain. Sure, sunny weather here is glorious, and it sucks to be stuck in a chilly rainstorm, especially during COVID-19. But let that not dissuade you from rightful respect for rainy days.
Rain remains rife with rare benefits. Though I may be a rookie rain-lover, I will humbly offer my suggestions for growing in rain-respect and my ideas for avoiding boredom or irritation on future rainy days.
First — and perhaps most importantly — rain presents an opportunity for a unique type of coziness. Drinking a piping hot mug of sweet seasonal tea or a properly creamy latte from Aroma’s, though wonderful pastimes for any morning, afternoon or evening, are only made more comforting and thoroughly delightful by rainy weather. Pair your warm drink with a favorite sweater or a beloved pair of boots and bam. Instant coziness.
“Pair your warm drink with a favorite sweater or a beloved pair of boots and bam. Instant coziness.”
Our campus coffee shops, too, somehow become noticeably more relaxed and pleasant in icky weather. The Daily Grind during a rainy day particularly promises comfort with its ever-present air of mellowness caused by amber-hued décor and perfectly fitting indie tunes. Even the dining halls offer a hint of comfort in a downpour. I can hear you protesting — I know the Caf is hardly a homey hangout on the regular. Still, watching the rain with a friend and a large plate of fries from a back table by the windows and looking out at the birch trees and athletic fields as they blow in the wind isn’t so bad.
Bundling up in bed and listening to the rain can be the beginning of a splendid self-care session, too. The pitter-patter of rain against windowpanes maximizes the appeal of typical cozy-day activities like binging Netflix, pampering yourself, creating art, listening to soothing music, etc. I recommend snuggling up with a good non-school book (recreational reading… who knew?) and listening to any type of jazz. “Stormy Weather” by Etta James when the weather is actually stormy simply hits different, and you can never go wrong with some Sinatra.
But perhaps you are of the strange sort to whom coziness and creamy coffees and jazz music bears no appeal. Do not fret. Rain remains promising. Recall your childhood days splish-splashing through puddles and adventuring across muddy pathways. Recall the sense of vivacity that such adventures sparked in you. Wouldn’t a rain adventure still invigorate you, at least to some extent? Though puddles and mud have likely lost any former positive appeal, getting out in the rain is exciting.
“I hear your complaints. But you won’t melt. You aren’t a witch.”
I hear your complaints. But you won’t melt. You aren’t a witch. Rain is just water, which is hard to believe, I know. Get over it and go for a walk. See for yourself the wonders that the outdoors can work on your mindset and mood. Take a rain-walk through Colonial Williamsburg and admire how rain brings out a new brightness in the trees’ colors and a refreshing lack of tourists. Stroll along and breathe in that sweet, earthy smell of rain. Or go biking or running — they both require caution but can be quite thrilling.
Finally, you could take some initiative and see rain as an opportunity to buckle down and get things done. Check those little nagging things off your never-ending to-do list: clean your room. Do your laundry. Call your mom. Get ahead on your classwork. You won’t believe the productivity possible when you can’t go take a nap on the Sunken Garden.
I can personally testify that changing your perspective on rain changes your life as a student here: choose to ignore the potential plus-sides of rain, and you are merely making yourself more miserable.
Email Sarah Soltis at firstname.lastname@example.org.