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Student View

By Kate Holden

I used to believe that people who live in climates where it is sunny and dry 300 days a year must never get anything productive done. They must be too busy frolicking outdoors. But I’ve come to realize that that’s probably an attitude developed from living in a place like Newfoundland.

Here we suffer through the fog, rain, snow and ice storms for most of the year. So on that first day, usually sometime in May, when the sun breaks through the clouds and the temperature hits 10 degrees, the streets fill with hot pants and halter tops and translucent pasty skin that blinds you on the drive home.
Each year summer in Newfoundland surprises me. It seems that through the winter we forget that there is something beautiful under the salt and snow. We forget or become distracted from the fact that Newfoundland is actually a nice place to live. After a few years of spending summers elsewhere, I’ve spent the last two here and both years I’ve been amazed at how green and beautiful and inviting Newfoundland suddenly becomes around May and June. Seeing the city and entire province come back to life reawakens your love for this island.

This cycle of coming back around to summer also adds a great structure to the year. I don’t know if anyone else’s concept of time works like this, but in my mind September equates to that Monday morning feeling; while June is not only like a Friday afternoon, but the last Friday of the school year. I become overwhelmed by the mental image of kids flying out school doors, papers flying, plunging themselves into two months free for lollygagging and tomfoolery!

I hope I never stop associating that feeling of uninhibited freedom we had as school kids in summertime with this time of year. As we get older we do find that we can’t let loose to the same degree anymore, we have to work or continue going to school or both, but there’s definitely still something very uplifting about the summer.

Maybe if you live in one of those “ideal” climates you stop being impressed by sunshine. It must be pretty dull. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the sun, but I’m inclined to think that if it’s sunny all year round you would either be irritated with having to go to work when you could be at the beach, or you would become immune to it, maybe even bored.

That’s one of the positive things about our climate – the window of opportunity to get out and live it up is so small that we have to make the most of those sunny days. But aside from the sun, there are so many more reasons to make the most of summer in Newfoundland. For us students, we’re free to read only what we want to or at least we have the peace of mind of knowing that we don’t need to step inside a classroom for four months. There are also the countless festivals, concerts, and fairs to attend here in the city as well as any number of excuses and opportunities to travel elsewhere. It’s always fun to make a list of things you want to do before September and the latest issue of the Scope outlines lots of interesting possibilities.

This is the first summer semester I’ve participated in so far in my MUN career and despite the warnings and grimaces I got from friends and family, it’s actually really nice. You’re guaranteed a computer in the commons any time of day, there’s rarely a line-up for a cup of coffee and I don’t think I’ve stepped foot in the tunnels yet this semester. Apart from maybe having a few more in-class hangovers than you might during the rest of the year, the atmosphere is actually much calmer and more positive.

So in short, I’m in love with Newfoundland summers. And while it’s enticing to say that it’s the sun that makes the season, I think it’s really the shift in attitude that most Newfoundlanders experience in the summertime. A general sense of joie de vivre enchants everyone. There’s always somewhere to go and something to do and little chance of the weather getting in your way. This is one thing that Newfoundland has that I think makes it such a great place to live – something to look forward to every year; a time of year during which life appears as if through rose-coloured glasses and your struggles seem less important.
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