Wear Your Jacket (And Other Tips to Survive the Colgate Winter)

So you’re back at Colgate and already experiencing the numbing cold and icy sidewalks. Maybe you’ve already fallen down when you failed to notice the ever-sneaky black ice. Maybe you forgot to get a car with four-wheel drive and realized without an SUV, you won’t be driving anywhere until May (if you’re lucky; it’s been known to snow on graduation day). Or maybe you are from California like my na??ve best friend, who thought snow was “fun” until she came to Colgate. If you’re a veteran like myself, you know the routine, but for those of you Colgate winter virgins or those of you who were abroad in the Spring last year and like myself, no longer have fresh memories of the misery and bone chilling cold, I am here to offer you a little advice on surviving winter at Colgate. Now you may be thinking, I’m from New York or Boston, I’ve experienced snow and cold before, and I don’t need any advice. THINK AGAIN. Coming from Chicago, I too believed I could handle the winter here with my hat and a fleece, but I learned the hard way that Colgate winters are like nothing you’ve ever experienced. So here are some tips I’ve learned over the past few years.

1. Invest in a good parka. A fleece just won’t cut it. 2. Layers, layers, layers. I’m talking long underwear, wool socks, sweaters, gloves, and hats. Yes, I’ve been known to wear long underwear under my clothing just to go to class. 3. Snow boots. Uggs may be out of style, but they’ll keep your feet warm and dry. Merrels also work quite well. Please ladies, don’t try to walk those icy slopes with your stiletto heels. I don’t care how well you walk in heels – you’ll look absolutely ridiculous when you take a huge digger in front of everyone you know.4. Space heaters and flannel sheets. For those of you living in those old houses off campus these are essential. 5. This ones for the girls and those of you boys who ignored your mother’s urgings to get a hair cut over break. BLOW DRY. Trust me, I know it’s a pain but it’s time well spent especially for you lucky ones with straight hair. I had a curl freeze into an icicle and break off once and trust me, it looks about as good as when your mom had to cut off half your bangs trying to get the wad of gum out when you were little.6. Visit JJ’s for some UV rays. If you’re suffering from seasonal affective disorder, which you will after the sun doesn’t come out for three weeks straight, try buying a light for your room too. And if all else fails, try some Prozac.7. When you go out at night, invest in a jug jacket (you know some ugly coat that you found at salvation army or your grandma thought was cute, which it might have been when she was 20 but definitely not now). If you bring a nice fleece, it will get stolen. Oh, and don’t forget the drunk bus stops running at 2:30 a.m. Grab a slice, and get on that bus or your taking a nice cold walk up that hill. Beware, students have been known to pass out in the snow and they usually aren’t found until the following spring when the snow thaws, so don’t miss that bus.8. Finally, try to enjoy the winter. I know we always complain about it (and I probably do the loudest) but if nothing else, Colgate looks amazing under 20 feet of snow. You can always go sledding (frank trays make excellent sleds but as I learned, you can get in a lot of trouble if they catch you stealing it). Try skiing – there are great mountains only an hour away. Have a snowball fight – just don’t hit a belligerent drunk outside the Jug – there could be hell to pay. And like most Colgate students, make Jim Bean your new best friend. A few shots and you just might find yourself braving the 20-degree temps and icy wind to get pushed and prodded in the Jug line.