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Cold Weather – What’s That?
For a majority of Hale students, living in a colder climate is a new phenomenon. Some of North America’s most popular higher education institutions are located in colder climates, including all of the Ivy League universities, Brandeis, Tufts, NYU, McGill, University of Michigan, Boston University, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, among many others. While the pretty photos of snowy cities and everyone bundled up in puffy, comfy jackets are certainly real, there is a lot to consider when choosing a college or university in a colder climate.
First, you will be attending school in the coldest months of the year in the United States or Canada, so be prepared! Jackets, boots, gloves, and hats are only just the beginning. Did you know that the key to keeping warm in a cold climate is actually more layers of clothing? Here are some popular clothing companies that will help you stay warm during that cold December dash to class:
- L.L. Bean
- North Face
Keep in mind that weather impacts more than just your attire - it can even affect your mood! For example, did you know that the sun sets at approximately 4:00PM in most of the northeastern United States during the wintertime? This means that you only receive around 8 hours of daylight each day, most of it only visible when you are in class! This has been proven to cause some people to feel more tired, sad, or sleepy during the day.
So, if you are a student who’s never experienced a full “real” winter or even seen snow, how are you supposed to survive when temperatures regularly fall below freezing? Remember that, as temperatures slowly drop and the crisp chill of fall turns into the bitter cold of December, your body will gradually acclimate to its new climate. Depending on the school and city that you may soon call home, there will likely be underground pathways, shuttle buses, trains, and/or inter-building walkways in place to help you dodge the frigid wind and blustering snow. Remember that in most parts of the eastern and midwestern United States, the weather can be unpredictable; just because the morning is sunny does not mean that rain isn’t on the horizon in a few hours. Invest in an umbrella, extra hat, and/or change of shoes just in case.
As you begin to prepare your move to university life, it would be wise to stock up on a few “essential” items ahead of the colder months. Here are some recommendations:
- Hat, scarf, and gloves
- Heavy, waterproof jackets
- Sweaters and lighter jackets for layering
- Snow boots
- Blankets for your bed
- Hand-warmer packets
So, after all of this doom and gloom, why should you go to school in a colder climate? First, you may see the four seasons of the year for the first time! There is nothing like seeing the explosions of red, orange, and yellow that accompany a New England autumn (pumpkin-spiced latte in hand, of course) or watching the first snowfall of the season from your window. Furthermore, some of the most fun outdoor activities — skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, snowball fights — are only possible during these winter months. You might be surprised how much you come to love this supposedly dark and gloomy time of year.
And, if you’re lucky, you might even be able to enjoy one of those hotly-anticipated snow days!
Kevin Dupont is an educational consultant and a graduate of The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, Middlebury College, and Brandeis University.