Chicago is a city known for its tall towers, thick pizza and below freezing temperatures. However, two years ago I decided to leave my 50-degree winters in the South for Chicago’s subzero ones, and it was one of the best decisions I have made.
I always get asked, “How does a Southern boy survive living in the cold?”
I respond that snow is fun, I love seeing all of these seasons and I wanted a change of pace. Although I am telling the truth about the perks of the cold, it is hard to ignore that walking to class in a Chicago winter is inconvenient.
But, weather always changes and campuses do not. Therefore, do not cross off any schools on your list because they are located in a cold region of the country because it may still the best match possible.
If you are thinking about going to a college that is known for cold weather, here are some tips.
1. Do not buy your winter clothes at home.
If your city is not used to really cold weather, then they will not sell clothes that are cold weather appropriate. It is nothing against your local outdoor store; it’s supply and demand.
2. Wool socks and base layers are your new best friends.
I know neither of these are very sexy, but long johns and wool socks will keep you warm without adding too much bulk.
3. Your coat doesn’t need to make you look like the marshmallow, but it needs to be warm.
A thicker jacket does not necessarily mean it is the warmest option with today’s technology, but unfortunately price does correlate to warmth. However, do not be afraid to pay for one great winter coat at a nicer clothing store. You will be wearing it a lot and a good one will last a long time.
4. Accept that new friends will ask you if you whether or not you have seen snow before college.
Think of a sassy answer now, and when your friends get sick of the same answer they will stop asking the same question.
5. Accept that people from home will ask you about the weather all of the time.
Weather makes for good small talk. I have come to appreciate that when people ask me how college is going I can talk about the weather and not my personal life.
6. Minimize walking outside and have a plan.
Last winter I had an awkward hour between two classes that were in the same part of campus. You can go to a café, a dining hall, or the library, just pack up everything you need for the day and hang around the main part of campus.
7. Don’t forget your shorts.
Cold winters do not mean cold summers. Also, I have found that the colder it is outside, the hotter my dorm gets. I usually walk around in shorts inside my dorm, and then layer up to go to class.
8. When you walk outside, look like a turtle.
Keep your head down and your hood up to avoid getting a mouth full of snow and a face full of wind. And keep in mind that if everyone is keeping there heads down outside, how flattering your winter gear is will be irrelevant.
9. Remember that everyone feels the cold.
Just because someone is from a cold part of the world, does not mean they don’t get chilly. You do not get an extra right to complain about the cold because you are not used to it.
10. Embrace the cold.
With the precautions in mind, remember that snowball fights, sledding, ice skating and other snow activities are things you probably can not do in your hometown.