How to survive the Chicago cold

Amy Whyte, Reporter

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As someone who was born and raised in Alabama, I grew up in the kind of town where an inch of snow on the ground could cancel school for a week. I rarely saw temperatures dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and considered it “cold” if it wasn’t tanktop weather.

And then I went to Northwestern.

Despite reassurances from my Chicago-born friends that last winter was decidedly “mild,” it was still 10 times colder than any winter I had ever experienced beforehand (if you can really call what we experience in Alabama “winter”). But, because I was prepared for the worst (google “Chicago 2011 blizzard” and you’ll see what I mean), I was able to survive it.

And with a few tips you can, too.

1. Invest in a winter coat.
I’m not talking about a fleece zip-up or a basic hoodie. I’m talking about a serious, heavy-duty winter coat. Preferably the puffy kind filled with down for extra warmth and definitely something with a hood–no one wants to walk around looking like they just stepped out of the shower because of all the snow melting in their hair. And while we’re on the subject of snow…

2. Buy some snow boots.
Seriously. Sneakers will have you walking around in wet socks all day and boots without some kind of grip on the soles will have you face-planting on patches of ice. (Trust me–I know from experience.) Also worth noting, a solid pair of rain boots can double as snow boots if you wear thick socks or buy a pair of boot liners.

3. Layer up.
On days when it’s below freezing, you can guarantee that all the campus buildings will be blasting the heat. So even though it’s so so so cold outside, it’s going to be so so so hot inside. Wear layers that you can take off so you’re not sweating through your Spanish class.

4. Plan your classes by building.
Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if at all possible, only choose classes on the same side of campus as your dorm. Or, if you must go back and forth between North and South, try to limit the amount of times you have to go back and forth. Particularly when you get to Winter Quarter, the less amount of time you spend outside walking to class, the better. The shuttle system is also worth familiarizing yourself with.

Evanston’s weather can be rough at times, but it’s perfectly manageable if you prepare for it. And even when it’s negative five degrees outside with 20 mph winds, just look on the bright side: come May it will be warm outside and you go to a school with its own beach.

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