Have you ever noticed that weather causes a specific ambiance of noise? I’m not talking about the sound of raindrops on roses. Nor am I talking about wind rustling leaves on a tree. I am talking about the atmosphere created by weather.
Imagine a morning not unlike this morning here in Cincinnati. A soft layer of snow covered the ground as I walked to class while the temperature hung right around 16 ºF. A bit cold, but no real wind to complain about.
Now imagine a morning in September. A morning when classes are beginning for the school year. A nice 70 ºF day with easy breeze. Shorts and T-shirt day for sure.
Walking down the same sidewalk, going to the same class, the same people around going to their same classes. The atmosphere is completely different. I understand that people don’t want to stay out in the cold longer than they have to, but the stark silence that was across campus was almost spooky. There must’ve been 150 people walking around the sidewalk about 7 minutes before class began, and not a sound was to be heard.
Looking from person to person, expressions mirrored their voices. Nothing. Silence accompanied by expressionless. Heads tilted to the ground, only aware of the 10 feet in front of them, blinders on for the sides, in their own world of cold.
If we have an out-of-the-ordinary spring day now in the middle of January, campus would be completely different. People would be outside throwing frisbees and chatting about anything.
This makes me wonder about the quality of education and the life experience you receive from a University that is in a cold location. If Cincinnati was 73 ºF every day year round, would people be more social, in better moods, more well rested, more willing to leave the house to go to class and pay attention to the material. Or, would people use the nice weather as an excuse to skip classes and be outside instead of working through homework?
You have to consider the schools you think of as the ‘smart’ schools and where they are located. MIT and Harvard are both in Boston, cold. I took a look at the first page I could find that ranked public Universities. I am not sure of the criteria they use, but let’s go ahead and work with this list.
University of California - Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
University of California - Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Ok… so apparently if we look at the top four universities, there doesn’t appear to be any correlation between temperature and quality of school. In fact, these four universities are so different, location-wise, that I’m not sure anything can be deduced from the list.
So there we have it… a useless blog post :-)