When you live in the west coast– 50 degrees warrants a jacket and an exclamation of “GEEZ it’s cold out today!”. Soon after moving to the Midwest you’ll discover that 50 degrees means changing into shorts and flip flops! The transition can be difficult, but with a few tips, if you are moving to Minnesota.
1. Invest in *REAL* cold weather gear.
Cute combat boots and a leather jacket don’t cut it anymore. Columbia/Northface/Sorel brands are a must. They are pricey, but I guarantee they will last you years and will keep you from turning rigid– and that means giving up on fashion for the coldest days. Hint: get a coat that is down feathered!
2. Be extra safe after partying!
It’s common knowledge that it’s important to have a Designated Driver or a group to walk home with after a crazy party, but that goes double when it’s snowy and cold. If you are drunk and wandering your campus at night, it really is possible to freeze to death. The stories you hear about this happening are not tales meant to scare kids out of drinking!
3. Don’t hibernate all winter.
The cold does something to people. It makes them sleep, cuddle up in a pile of blankets and it makes them lazy. Do not succumb to this. You can still gain weight and become out of shape in the winter! Find ways to get outside or stay active. Maybe try the school’s gym or doing crunches and jumping jacks in your room.
4. Take advantage of the school’s free transportation.
The University of Minnesota luckily has underground tunnels to and from most buildings (ever wondered why they’re called Golden Gophers?). But many schools have a bus or trolley system that goes throughout campus, too. In the colder months these are essential to staying warm on your way to classes.
5. Always double check the windchill.
You know when you used to read “80 degrees, feels like 76” and it never really made a difference back home? Well, now it does. Sometimes the weather will be 50, but because of windchill, it will feel closer to 30 degrees. That is the difference between a light jacket and a coat.
6. Everyone eats it on the ice.
You are going to be mortified the first time you slip on the ice and land straight on your arse. People will laugh at you, but they laugh because that have all done it– and if they’ve lived in the Midwest long, they’ve done it many times. Think of it more as a rite of passage into Midwestern-hood.
7. The cold is not an excuse.
There will be days when the thought of putting on fifty layers of clothing (only to take it off once you reach your class), walking through the snow, and getting frostbite will convince you that class isn’t important and it can be skipped. That is not true. Professors don’t care if it is -18 degrees. Class goes on and so must you.
8. For goodness sake, stay hydrated.
When it’s hot, it’s instinctive to grab a cold glass of water. Truth is, water does more than cool you down. It also keeps you from dying. Seriously, though, forgetting to drink water because it is cold will expose you to all kinds of sicknesses that are easier to catch in the winter. Don’t be that West Coast Kid who gets sick their first week of below-fifty-degree-weather.
9. Carry chapstick wherever you go.
The temperature is cold, but the air is dry– and your lips will feel the heat. Stock up on chapstick and lotions to keep yourself from chapping everywhere.
10. Take advantage of trips back home.
When you visit family for Christmas, really live in the moment. Tan in the 60 degree weather! Go for a swim or a walk! Soak up the sun and be grateful for every second you get to spend in paradise while all the in-state students envy you. They got to laugh at you for being a wuss in the cold, now they have to stay back while you return to the beautiful west coast! Going home will be a breath of fresh, warm air.