Freshman freak-outs: Winter gear
The temperature has officially plunged, leading me to question whether or not “in St. Louis” should be exchanged for “in the North Pole.” For many hardened northeasterners, this is what is to be expected. But as an expatriate of the South, I found this time of year to be quite the surprise as a freshman. I discovered what real winter was. For those who have yet to spend the winter in Missouri, expect rapid temperature fluctuations and deep freezes. While last winter was particularly cold, every winter brings temperatures in the 20s and 30s on a regular basis. And you should also always be prepared for snow and ice because class won’t ever be canceled.
The first thing you need is a hat, mittens and good gloves. While this might seem like an obvious thing, not everyone is used to needing these items. Make sure you invest in good, lasting, high-quality items.
Next, you need a really good pair of snow boots, preferably ones that are anti-slip like Bean boots from L.L.Bean. Trust me, I completely wiped out last year outside of Bear’s Den. Learn from my mistakes. Another pro-tip from skiers and those who live in the northeast is to put heated inserts in your boots. They are heavenly.
Perhaps the most important relationship I have in my life is with my heated mattress pad. I cannot say enough about its greatness. Another option is a heated blanket. Both are indescribably comforting when it is frigid outside. Also, it’s a great way to keep yourself warm if your roommate doesn’t like to crank the heat.
A coat is not enough; you need a parka. You need something that’s knee-length and has a hood. This excludes all peacoats, hoodies and sweaters. Seriously, this is non-negotiable.
Texting gloves are seriously a must because, as college students, we are constantly on our phones. Try putting on regular gloves and you will realize just how dependent you are on your smartphone. Only on the coldest of days is it justifiable to pull out the monster gloves.
Learning to layer is key because the buildings at Wash. U. are very warm. You’ll need to shed layers immediately or you will be roasted to a medium rare through the progression of your lecture. I always try to layer a T-shirt, a sweater, a scarf and a coat so that I can adjust throughout the day.
Finally, don’t underestimate the ability of a hot drink to keep you warm and cozy in the middle of winter. If you think you’re about to freeze to death on your walk home from the library, grab a coffee and warm yourself from the inside out. Again, I seriously didn’t know this was necessary until I came northward for college.
With these tips, I hope you will be much warmer than I was before going home for holiday break and stocking up on all things winter-wear.