Samirah and her two friends pose for a photo together outside in the snow
My friends and I after my first snowball fight

Experiencing any phenomenon for the first time is always fascinating. However, experiencing something for the first time and being cognizant of it comes with its own set of feelings. For me, this happened when I first saw snow. Growing up in Bangladesh and then eSwatini, I have experienced temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to 110 Fahrenheit. But I had never seen snow.

I always expected to see a ‘proper’ snow. In my head, I would wake up one day in December and see the entire campus had turned white. I would build a snowman and I would probably slip and fall. I spent many days leading up to my arrival at Conn building up this vision. After I arrived at Conn I got caught up in being in a new place but the ideal vision of snow I had kept lingering at the back of my mind. Of course, events rarely end up living up to your ideal expectations. My first snow didn’t involve me waking up one morning to see the earth had turned white, but it did involve a one-minute teaser and then a whole snowstorm.

It was a typical Saturday: I finished up a group project and was heading out of Harris Refectory to go to back to the library. I stepped out of the dining hall to see that it was sleeting. “Oh, what a good time to not have either a cover for my laptop or my jacket,” I grumbled as I stuck my hand out to see how wet it was. But it wasn’t wet, it was dry. Puzzled, I stood in the middle of Connecticut College, flapping my arm around, unaware that I was experiencing my first flurry. As I stood there, still flapping an arm around while glaring at the sky, a senior came out from behind me and, trying to not laugh, inquired as to what I was doing.

“Why isn’t my arm wet?” I asked him, frustrated.

“Well, that’s because it’s snow, not rain,” he said whilst walking away, unable to hide his amusement anymore at my dumbstruck face. Until my roommate assured me that it wasn’t proper snow, I spent that entire day kicking myself for not immediately noticing the snow because I was in shock.

However, on November 15, it was predicted to snow. The weather app said 2 p.m., then 3 p.m., then 4 p.m. No sign of snow. My roommate and I set up a snow watch station on her bed beside the window and we started to get impatient. Throughout the day, our room was busy with streams of our friends saying they’re going to run over when it starts snowing so they can see my reaction. Obviously, this just increased my giddiness and impatience at the weather. Morning and afternoon came and went, dusk came but still no snow. I had just about given up and, frustrated with the weather predictions, was in the middle of homework when I received excited texts from two different people: it was snowing!

The news set off a flurry of activity. Most of it revolved around my roommate ensuring I was wearing adequate clothing, not looking out of the window and then finally, blindfolding me. This resulted in me feeling snow before I actually saw it.

When I walked out, I was greeted by a burst of cold air. This evolved into something cold stinging my exposed hands and face. My senses were confused. But I knew this was snow. When they finally took off my blindfolds and could gain my bearings, I realized that sometimes expectations could be fulfilled: the ground was steadily turning white and something was continuously hitting me on the face: snow.

As you can probably imagine, the next two hours were full of more firsts. I tried and failed to build my first snowman, I had two major snowball fights with my closest friends and I slid down the many slopes of Conn. It was enthralling and surprising all at once. I wanted to throw snowballs but also stare, mesmerized at the falling flakes.

My first snow was an experience I am not going to forget anytime soon.