Most people at Elmira College like Term III. It is the time of year where you can lay on the grass in a bathing suit, toss balls around, and swim in the fountain. You have fewer classes and many Wednesdays off, so you have more time to spend with your friends. If you are a theatre person, you get to experience the annual musical and all of the shenanigans that happen with it. Many people also get the opportunity to travel. I, personally, have always appreciated the opportunity to attend classes that I wouldn’t necessarily have time for during a regular term.
However, it is not all fun and games, especially when it gets hot. This year has been a blessing because it has been mostly cool, but this week Mother Nature turned up the thermostat and I am miserable. That is because I live on the third floor of a dorm that does not have air conditioning or screens on the windows.
Thus, I do not sleep well at night. At all. And am drowsy almost all day. The heat makes me feel like I should be asleep and when I am in air conditioning my body wants to go to sleep because it is finally at a comfortable temperature. When I go to work I have to drag heavy stock across campus. While it is not physically difficult, I overheat easily, so I usually feel a little sick afterwards.
Don’t get me wrong, I like summer just as much as everyone else. I enjoy the sunshine and not having to wear a coat when I go outside. I like gardening and having fun outdoors. I especially like going to the beach and swimming.
However, I need the option of escaping from the heat into a building with air conditioning. I need to sleep in a cold room. I have to be able to lower my body temperature in order to feel comfortable going outside.
I do have a few tricks. For instance, while I generally prefer room temperature drinks, I always try to have ice water on me so that I can cool myself down quickly if need be. I take cold showers before bed. I also wash my feet and let them soak in a container of cold water, which has the result of cooling down my entire body. That is especially helpful when I’m doing homework, because I cannot concentrate in the oppression of heat.
That said, the experience of Term III is actually good for me. I know that I can survive in the heat, even if I don’t like it. I know that it is important for me to live in a climate that has seasons, so that I can lower my air conditioner’s impact on the environment.
Above all, I know my limitations. I know that I cannot lay out in the sun (I’m extremely fair-skinned) and that I have to take it easy when I am working outdoors in the heat. I know exactly how hard I can push myself before I start to feel sick and have to back off and cool down.
Because of this, I am glad that I went to a school that has an extra term in late spring. In a different Northern school I might never have learned these things about myself.