By Doug Ward

We don’t know the last time the first day of classes was canceled.

We’re guessing it was January 1892, when the temperature fell to minus 23, the bottoms of thermometers shattered, and students started using the phrase “froze my bottom off” (or something approximating that).Cover of Pupil magazine

Of course, everyone was hardier back then, having to walk five miles to campus barefoot through the snow and fend off wolves with their bare, frostbitten hands and all. At least that’s what our elders told us. So everyone may have just shrugged off the lethally cold temperatures in 1892 and showed up for class as usual.

Unfortunately, Pupil magazine didn’t exist then, so we may never know. Thankfully, it does exist today, and we have a new issue available! (No applause necessary. Our frozen fingers and toes and ears and hair follicles are tender, too.) After hunkering down in a perpetual shiver for five straight days, you no doubt need a laugh.

Please don’t laugh too hard, though. The polar bear may hear you.

Polar bear?

Shh. Have a great start to the semester!

Doug Ward is associate director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and an associate professor of journalism and mass communications.

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