Students struggling to maintain schedules based on UV-index

Madeline Kemp, 3.5-inch Punisher

This week we caught up with students who pride themselves on their bronze glow as we transition into autumn. This year in particular, the art of tanning took on new meaning for many sallow and pasty Whitties. Between wildfire smoke and lowering temps, many have reported hearing a distant unsettling wail across the region. These are the cries of those who have grown attached to their summer suntans and are feeling them fade.  

Back in the days of deeper quarantine, while some took up new hobbies like baking bread or mastering TikTok dances, others realized their full tanning potential. With so few things to structure our days, the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. were given purpose anew: the window of time for optimal UV-exposure. 

Sophomore Melanie Ingle from Bellingham said, “my internship went remote. I was posted up every day on my parents’ deck in my lawn chair, soaking up rays like clockwork. I’ve never been more golden, which has been great for social media – aka my only social interactions.”

Senior Tanner Schilling, who recently moved back to Walla Walla from outside of Portland, explained, “I strategically registered for classes that allowed at least two hours of daily sunning. No classes in that 1 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. slot. That time is just too precious. I need my freckles to pop or I look totally washed out in class.” 

Not everyone was as forward-thinking as Tanner, and students should note that your peers can see your buttcheeks over your shoulder when you log in to Zoom class from your tummy, lying on your towel. 

Others have been spotted recently laying out, scantily clad in hazardous air under the blood orange, smoke-cloaked sun. This is not advised. 

Melanie and Tanner shared their creative solutions for tan maintenance. Melanie wears a transparent down coat and matching leggings for staying warm in the chilly B-ham air, and catches what she can under the overcast sky. Tanner reports moisturizing six times daily, and hasn’t scrubbed his skin in the last three weeks so as not to exfoliate away any dead but nonetheless golden layers of skin.

Here at The Wire we understand and support any efforts toward your mental wellbeing, in which following routine and boosting your confidence are solid strategies. However, we’d like to extend some words of comfort that you are more than your tan. Please do not prioritize rich, sun-kissed skin over other areas of your health. Stay safe and under the sun only as is comfortable. The sun will come out next spring.