For starters, Notre Dame is a beautiful campus filled with centuries-old buildings, unique architecture, beautiful quads, distinct dorm life, and one of the most gorgeous campus acreage that I have ever seen. No matter what the weather is outside, there will always be an abundance of beautiful sites and sights.
However, without a doubt in my mind, I firmly believe that Winter is the most beautiful time on campus.
Don't get me wrong, Winter is harsh. Temperatures go down to single digits, and windchill is most certainly a factor. Also, I'll never forget the "Polar Vortex" of my sophomore year that led to the only unscheduled school holiday of my four years as temperatures felt like -50 degrees!
But, with all of this still fresh in my mind, Winter is still the most beautiful time on campus.
I'm from New Jersey, where every memory of Winter is dusted with snow and ice. Back home, we frequently had snow days in early January; yet, all of the snow melted away over the weekend. Nothing frozen was permanent.
Here, the snow piles up. One snowstorm begins to melt, the foot of snow becomes eight inches, then another storm comes, and it's now a foot and a half tall. The process repeats. If it weren't for our incredible landscapers and maintenance staff who ice and plow the sidewalks ahead, during, and after each storm, Notre Dame probably wouldn't start Spring semester until mid-March.
Despite a large amount of snow, Winter is still the most beautiful time on campus.
Sometimes, it even is hard to walk to our classes with the wind whipping at our rosy cheeks. I usually have a scarf covering half of my face, along with my parka hood over my head. Don't forget your gloves, too! You never want that bone-chilling feeling of having to open metal door handles with your bare hands. Also, bring plenty of chapstick and lotion because your skin will dry out which is never a good look.
Even though it may be physically draining, Winter is still the most beautiful time on campus.
Then, there are weeks when the sun refuses to come out from behind the permacloud. You go a whole month without really seeing the unrestricted brightness of the sun. That's ok though because I never really look up. After all, there is so much snow. How could you not look at the ground?! I had never seen so much snow before I got here, and I probably never will again.
However, there is this time, usually in mid-February, when the snow is a foot high, the wind calms down just the slightest bit, and a gap in the clouds allows the sun to shine through in such gorgeous streaks.
That exact moment is the most beautiful time on campus, and it only ever is experienced in Winter.