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‘Winter is Coming…’

As I write tucked up in bed, wearing enough layers for an Arctic expedition, and procrastinating the time away with a Game of Thrones boxset rather than getting stuck into that decisive essay, there’s no two ways about it, it is that time of year again. In the words of our good friend Ned Stark: winter is coming.

A student house in the winter can present challenges never even contemplated before starting university, and habits that would usually be deemed absurd become completely normal. Wearing a hat indoors is generally considered rude but for a student, the dressing gown/woolly hat combination is so prevalent it’s almost a legitimate fashion trend. Household furniture ceases to be used as it was intended, with chairs, doors and bannisters all being adapted into makeshift airers where everyone’s clothes hang in their perpetual dampness.

You will find cooking not only satisfies your appetite, but also becomes a source of much needed warmth. This means meal time turns into a social event; never in summer would all house-mates be crammed into the kitchen collectively. In winter, however, standing by the oven waiting for your food to cook allows time for a little communal gossip as well as increasing body temperature.

As the cold weather sets in, there are other serious practicalities to consider, and one debate rages on longer and more vigorously than that of the moon landing: “shall we put the heating on?”. The heating emerges as the absolute epicentre of student life throughout the winter months, and house meetings and disputes flare over who has control of the dial. If, like me, you have house-mates who share your reluctance to crank up the heat in light of empty wallets and dwindling bank accounts, you may find yourself becoming markedly closer to your companions, not least because the cold is forcing all six of you to huddle together for warmth like penguins.

In addition to the cold, winter also brings with it darkness. You wake up to go to Uni and it’s dark, you leave to go home and it’s dark. Attempting to build up motivation to get out of bed and into lectures becomes a daily struggle, and finding the energy to make your way back again isn’t much easier, especially when it’s raining and there’s mud and soggy leaves underfoot. Sometimes, though, as you’re fumbling in your bag for a pair of gloves while simultaneously wrestling with your umbrella in the wind, you’ll catch a glimpse of a quite beautiful sunset. There is, it seems, always a silver lining, even in the winter.

Another welcome consequence of winter is the buzz over the approach of Christmas. It’s impossible to count how many times I’ve been asked “have you seen the John Lewis advert?”, the existence of which essentially means the season to be jolly is finally here, and that it’s OK to start getting excited about Christmas. Soon our cities will be adorned in lights and the sound of carolling will echo through the streets, and who doesn’t like that?

So just remember, winter can be tough on everyone. The return of the cold weather brings with it looming deadlines and the whole thing can seem a bit dreary. Immerse yourself in the fashion and festivities and, if it gets really difficult, pop into Costa and treat yourself to a Gingerbread and Cream Latte, and, I promise, you will make it through and probably have fun along the way. Really all you need in these wintry months is some good company, a hot water bottle, and a copy of Frozen.

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