Cold-blooded musings: On adapting to extreme temperature changes

Jan. 21, 2018, 12:32 p.m.

There’s something strange about stepping onto an airplane in sub-zero temperatures and later exiting into moderate spring-like temperatures that I’d once considered cold. In multiple long-sleeve layers, wool socks, rain boots and a scarf, I went from freezing to sweating in a matter of hours (and it wasn’t even from lifting four suitcases up three flights of stairs to my dorm room).

For the past week, I’ve been basking in 60-degree days like it’s a sweltering Pennsylvania summer. It’s funny because at the end of last quarter, I bundled up in heavy sweaters and gloves in the afternoon, despite the temperatures being relatively similar. Rain and wind weren’t even factors. Isn’t a Northeast native supposed to revel in any temperature above freezing in the winter months?

When I returned to Philadelphia for winter break, I realized how poorly I adapt to any sort of environmental change. I’d vowed to drive to the gym every day, but I didn’t want to leave the house. I slept with seven blankets on top of me and pulled them up to my nose. Most of the time I couldn’t feel my extremities after being outside for a few minutes. The bitter cold brought by the unseasonal “Bomb Cyclone” almost had me convinced that I’m cold-blooded (in the reptilian way, of course).

Whether I leave or enter cold temperatures, my body senses the dramatic change and immediately adapts, but it’s not always accurate. I’ve found that it’s all based on the extremeness of the change. My mood seems to change accordingly as well –the higher the temperature, the happier I am. I can only hope the bliss I feel in not having to wear a parka in January continues throughout the entirety of the quarter.


Contact Emily Schmidt at egs1997 ‘at’

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