Tips for Students Experiencing Their First Midwest Winter

By Indira Midha


Whether you’re coming from as close as Kentucky or as far as Kuwait, the Midwest is known for its turbulent, unpredictable climate. Here are some tips from a born-and-raised Midwestern kid on how to survive your first winter here.


Layers, Layers, Layers.




I promise this is crucial. You never know when it is going to drop a few degrees out of nowhere, or how high the heat will be in the places that you enter. Within a single minute, you can go from walking outside in what seems like the arctic to entering a restaurant with temperatures equivalent to a summer afternoon in Arizona. Being full of layers (a short-sleeved top, jacket, vest, coat and a thick scarf is the combo I prefer) gives you the versatility to adapt to any temperature.


Always overestimate travel time.




Whether it is walking or driving or taking a bus, the ice slows everyone down. Give yourself enough time to walk slowly in order to stay safe in the icy conditions. If possible, take public transportation. The bus drivers have been driving in these conditions for a long time, so they’ve got it under control.


Coats and boots are everything.




A good, long, thick jacket and a warm pair of boots are the two essential items for keeping warm in the winter. These are the holy grail products to invest in. While UGG Boots are trendy, keep in mind that they were designed in Australia with the intention of being worn in Australia. Australia and Illinois look pretty different in the winter. The boots will get soaked if you wear them in the snow. This defeats the purpose of keeping you warm, and the boots will get unflattering water marks on them, damaging their aesthetic appeal. UGG boots are fall footwear in this hemisphere, not winter.


Hold a hot drink if you have to walk somewhere.




If you cannot get out of walking, carry a hot drink to keep your hands warm. Additionally, it feels so nice to swallow a gulp of hot coffee or cocoa when your entire body is cold. That internal warmth is super nice and definitely worth four bucks on the coldest days.


The snow isn’t all bad!




Enjoy the seasonal pasttimes that aren’t available in places where it doesn’t snow! You’re in the Midwest for a minimum of four years, so enjoy it! Go skiing, sledding or tubing. Ice skate, make a snowman, play in the snow. Midwesterners have spent half their lives in the snow, so we know how to have a good time.


Happy winter, new Midwesterners!



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