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How to Handle Your First College Winter

How to Handle Your First College Winter


Unless you’re going to school in California, Florida or another sunny locale, it’s possible that your first campus winter will be a chilly adjustment. Here are some tips on how to thrive during your first undergraduate winter.

Layer Up

Layering clothes is the best option when facing chilling temperatures. Invest in long underwear, wool socks, sweaters, scarves, ear muffs and winter hats to stay warm. Donning too few layers or the wrong fabric will allow the wind to cut right through the fabric, so over your long underwear, add a hardy layer like wool, cashmere, flannel or a thick sweater. This will keep the heat in but also prevent you from overheating.

Additionally, purchasing a large down jacket and nice boots can be worthwhile if you’re attending a college or university somewhere particularly chilly. These will last until well after you graduate and make a huge difference in protecting you from the cold, wind and snow.

Stock Up on Essentials

The combination of biting winds, little sunshine and sub-zero thermometer readings can keep students from leaving their dorms. Save yourself a frigid grocery run or two by stockpiling essential items that’ll last throughout the season. Toiletries, snacks and school supplies are just a few of the things you should get before winter rolls in.

Learn About Helpful Resources

Most campuses have several services that can be highly beneficial in the winter. Campus rideshare and shuttle systems can keep you from walking 15 to 20 minutes in the cold. Don’t hesitate to contact a maintenance worker if your heating isn’t working as well as it should. Free hot chocolate and other warm treats are a staple of winter finals weeks.

Familiarize yourself with the on-campus health clinic in case you fall ill, as contagious viruses like the flu spread quickly throughout campuses. Undergraduate students typically don't have time to be sick, so stay on top of any symptoms.

Check in with Yourself

Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, is a real problem, especially for those experiencing their first rough winter. Whether it’s meditation, extra TV binging, a daylight lamp or extra sleep, be sure to take care of your mental health during the colder months of the year. These breaks are healthy and help you keep everything together for the long run.

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