Fall sets in rather abruptly in Northern Virginia. One day it can be 80 out, and the next 52. The leaves turn fairly quickly depending on the tree, and soon animals are seen making preparations or migrating for the winter.
For the people in Winchester and at Shenandoah, fall brings about a myriad of events, holidays, activities, foods, and other paraphernalia not available in either the warmer or the colder months. Fall can be an enjoyable time for many of SU’s inhabitants.
“I like the fact that…we get rid of the summer…cold weather, instead of being hot all the time”, says FYS Mentor Amadou Tapsoba. Several others agree—the cold weather is more enjoyable, as are the visual aspects of the season.
“I really love fall weather and fall clothes…I just really enjoy the nature during the fall”, adds his fellow FYS mentor Bridgit McKneely.
Salli Hamilton, Director of University Advising, continues the thread. “When you grow up in the South, fall is one of the only seasons that’s really distinct. Like, the leaves change, you can smell it in the air”.
“I love that the sun is still out most of the time, but it’s still breezy, and I love when the leaves change colors”, says Senior Double-Major Ashayla Byrd.
When asked about favorite activities, replies varied a great deal. “I like to play indoor soccer…watch basketball…football”, Amadou states. Both Mrs. Hamilton and Bridget have similar opinions. “I do love college football”, says Mrs. Hamilton.
“When I think of fall, I think of football…I cheer for Shenandoah…I like going to pumpkin patches, and like eating all the fall foods, and just being outside and hiking” adds Bridget.
“I really love being able to take all of my flannels out, and like, all my long-sleeved clothes”, Ashayla comments.
As for food, fall is a season of many flavors.
“Hot tea…sweet potato…anything to keep me warm”, replies Amadou. Warm drinks are a must as the weather begins to turn, and the variety of drink and foodstuffs is part of what makes fall so enjoyable.
“Pumpkin spice coffee…probably Thanksgiving food…my mom makes a sweet potato casserole”, Bridget answers. Other results spread across the many food groups.
“Definitely oysters…funnel cakes, apple cider donuts…pumpkin pie”, says Mrs. Hamilton.
Ashayla rounds out the discussion: “Apple pie…there’s pumpkin pie…a lot of the flavors that I like the most from fall are from desserts…I like to eat soup”. Fall is full of delicious flavors.
Many of these are related to one of the United States’ more important holidays. Thanksgiving turned out to be the favored event of the fall season, according to the interviewed individuals.
“Thanksgiving, because…everyone’s sitting down at the table…everyone gets to see everyone”, Amadou explains.
Mrs. Hamilton agrees with his sentiment. “Probably Thanksgiving…because of family”.
Bridget’s answer varies a bit. “Thanksgiving, because we also get to go home and enjoy home cooking and everything”.
One issue surrounding fall this year is the ever-present virus COVID-19. Between social distancing, masks, and sanitizing many of the normal activities that one can participate in will be likely unavailable.
“I do not think that we’re gonna be able to do anything at all” Amadou says.
Bridget is looking forward to Thanksgiving break—especially since Shenandoah has had no breaks yet this semester. “I live four and a half hours away, and I haven’t been able to see my family since I’ve been here…I’ll be able to see my family again”.
“I’m really lucky in that we have a small family gathering…probably the biggest change is…surrounding football” Mrs. Hamilton comments. This is true—sports have had to undergo major changes for the health and safety of players, staff, and fans alike.
“I actually feel like…the only things that might be a little be tricky are like, the social things”, Ashayla replies. Many events will certainly be tweaked to accommodate social distance.
As the seasons change, Shenandoah will undoubtedly do its utmost to keep students, staff, and faculty healthy and safe. Our jobs are to enjoy the weather, the activities, and the flavors as the semester draws closer to its end.
What do you think?