When I woke up early Monday morning to head to campus, I looked out my window and saw the coolest thing – fluffy white snow blanketing the cars, the streets, and the roofs of houses. I think it’s safe to say that winter has arrived in Waltham!
For students who are local to the northeast, the ritual of donning layers or shoveling snow probably feels pretty commonplace. For others, this might be their very first time ever experiencing a cold, snowy winter season. Growing up in Florida, I only ever saw snow on TV. I did not own an article of clothing thicker than a raincoat. But now, after having spent the last 5 years in cold places – including the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, Chicago, Illinois, and most recently Massachusetts – I’m ready to share my tips and tricks on how to survive (and thrive!) in winter time.
Step 1 – Find good quality gear
While there is a variety of winter clothing available, don’t feel like you need to buy every single thing. A few of the non-negotiables include a snow jacket. This jacket should have a hood, and pockets, and be waterproof. Many jackets will have a tag that lists the temperature range they can be worn in. Make sure you get something that will keep you warm on days that are below freezing. Snow boots and long socks are also a must to keep your feet warm. Your boots should also be waterproof, have insulation, and have good traction to keep you from slipping. Be mindful that snow boots tend to be heavier than regular boots, so make sure you don’t get something so heavy that it’s hard or awkward to walk in. Even with your hands in your pocket, your fingers will likely still be cold. Many gloves now have padded fingertips that allow you to use touchscreen devices, that way you don’t have to remove your gloves to reply to a text message. Other accessories you might consider are hats, scarves, and earmuffs to keep your head, neck, and ears warm.
Step 2 – Make time for cold weather activities
A lot of people will say there is nothing to do in winter but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! There are so many activities that you can ONLY do when it’s snowing outside. Just last year, Brandeis University converted the Levin Ballroom into an ice skating rink. I’ve had classmates who have gone sledding and some who travel to nearby states to ski and hike. With the holidays so close, many outdoor street markets will be opening. These are places where you can find handcrafted goods from local artists, winter desserts like gingerbread cookies, and warm beverages including hot chocolate and peppermint coffee.
Step 3 – Get cozy
Since classes are ending and the days are getting shorter, you can expect to spend more time indoors. There are so many ways to make your space more cozy and comfortable during the cold season. I definitely suggest finding good quality blankets that can keep you warm whether you are in bed, at your desk, or on the coach. Cardigans, sweaters, and robes that have pockets and a hood are great for lounging around the house. With the decrease in sunlight over the winter months, lamps and candles can help brighten your space.
Winter doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating . The coming of winter is a wonderful opportunity to slow down, spend time with loved ones, reflect on the past year, and start goal setting for the new year. I hope these tips help you make the most of the season!