Wednesday provided a frigid start to the 2011 spring semester at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

I’m not sure what the actual temperature was this morning, but the heating in my car was no match for the cold. One of my friends commented on his Facebook status that it was supposed to feel like -28 degrees today. I have trouble distinguishing anything lower than -15. After all, my thighs went numb on the roughly two block walk from my car to class, and the way my ear was burning I was sure it wouldn’t survive the trip.

The oddest sensation was internal and came just a few steps after I left my car.  It wasn’t some epiphany, no raging emotion was cooled, instead I felt like a cow—my snot actually froze in my nose.

Now I’m not inclined to worry about a cold day like this and, frankly, I’ve been waiting for this day. That it hasn’t gotten almost unbearably cold until this late in the winter has been a point of serious concern for me. After spending a portion of one winter studying in Europe, and not handling the cold shift from summer to fall particularly well, I was starting to question my Nebraskanness.

Such concerns may seem peculiar, but as someone nearly four years removed from high school I’m running low on physical tests. Organized sports are done, I no longer really participate in athletics of any kind, I don’t work out and my only form of exercise is walking from class to class around campus. If I can’t do that in the bitter cold, what has become of me?

Don’t worry, I succeeded. My self-confidence was restored and I may have even made it through the whole day without worrying about the thousands of other students shivering their way to class today if I hadn’t run into my friend Nick.

Nick, who’s on his way to becoming a teacher, wanted to know why we had to brave the blistering cold. “Really, how important is education?” he asked.

Mostly it was a joke, but it’s a question that has been weighed this week and resulted in two snow-days and one outrageously cold Wednesday of classes. The sub-zero temperatures made me feel at home but I can’t imagine too many high school or elementary school kids walking to school in this weather.

So, how cold does it need to be to cancel school? And at what temperature do you stop wanting to go to classes?

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