I recently had an interesting conversation with my friend from the West Coast about using seasons as measures of time. In warmer areas of the country, the leaves stay green year-round and the temperature rarely averages below 30 degrees. But here on the East Coast, we take our seasons seriously and there’s a marked change.
Every year, I look forward to the hues of reds, oranges, and yellows that adorn the trees during fall. And spending my first fall away from home and amongst the foliage on Prez Lawn at Tufts has made the season extra special this year. Not only is fall a beautiful backdrop, but it also marks a period of transition. At Tufts, October has been a mix of layering of sweaters and scarves, relief from the heat that plagued us in September, midterms, and Halloween festivities. I also like to think that the diversity of colors in the foliage also feels reflective of the diversity of thought and experiences that I have encountered in just my first two months here at Tufts. My friends come from all parts of the world, speak many different languages, and had wildly different high school experiences. Change is certainly scary, but embracing these differences is also exciting, an enduring lesson that I am always reminded of when fall rolls around.
And as we turn the corner into November, the temperature will keep dropping and we will enter into what has been affectionately dubbed “Stick Season,” from the eponymous song by Noah Kahan. “Stick Season,” in short, describes the brief period when the leaves have fallen, leaving bare branches that mark the end of fall and the start of winter. Both the song (which I hear being played or hummed by a Tufts student at least once a day) and the phrase describe a period that is best described as gray, cold, and grim.
It’s easy to retreat into the warmth of our rooms and fall victim to the “seasonal depression” that comes with these shorter and darker days. But though we lose daylight, I’ve also found that there are a lot of sources of warmth at Tufts that make these cold Boston days a little more bearable.
For one, the Mocha Latte at the newly-reopened Kindlevan Cafe is to die for. Having a hot drink in hand makes my walk uphill significantly more forgiving. I also love microwaving the chocolate cookies from Kindlevan or Dewick for some sweet gooeyness to end the day on.
There are also ample spots around Tufts to take advantage of the gorgeous foliage and crisp fall air. Just last week, my friends and I went to Mystic Lake which is a short 10-minute drive from campus. Though it’s too cold to go for a swim, the views of the trees and the sailboats on the water are gorgeous and make for a calm day trip. But if you want to stick closer to home, the lawn chairs, benches, and hammocks scattered around Res Quad, Academic Quad, and Prez Lawn are also great places to unwind, listen to music, and people-watch with friends.
Embracing fall is going to look different for everyone. We all find our own ways to cope with the colder weather. While I will certainly miss the sun, I am also working on approaching the drab weather—and generally acclimating to college—with a more positive mindset. This time last year, I still had no idea where I would go to college and was frantically trying to finish my Common App essays. What’s comforting is that even now that it’s a new year and I call a new city my home, the leaves still change colors and fall the same way. And in a year from now, who knows where I’ll be when the leaves start falling again? Stick season reminds us that some things never change. And there's something beautiful and comforting about the consistency of that change.
Photo Credit: Almer Yu