A Northwesterner's Guide to Northeastern Winter

     Seattle, Washington, does not have winter. 

     It has rain, but not the kind of rain you see here in New England. The kind of rain that doesn’t come down in sheets but comes down in mist, just enough of drizzle to get a few drops on your glasses and ruin your day. Plus, the sky stays overcast every day for a few months out of the year, meaning that the already dark days are even darker, grayer, and gloomier than they seem to be.

     It snowed in Seattle back in February. Seattle Public Schools got two and a half days off, my mom didn’t have to drive up to the library for work, and our experience driving in the rain that would blow the minds of the entire state of California turned out not to be enough. My Instagram feed looked something like this: Snow; snow; snow; Kesha; snow; snow; Ninja Sex Party merch; snow; snow; snow; and snow. In Seattle, we love snow. Because we don’t know what it is. I know I had a romanticized view of an actual winter that crashed and burned as soon as it dipped below freezing. (I still love snow, though.)

     So buckle in, fellow northwesterners and recent transplants, because northeastern winters will make you feel things toward snow you didn’t know you could feel.

     Snow makes things dirty. Your boots will be dirty, and your coat, and probably your backpack as well. You will feel disgusting, and since the hot water in the showers lasts about as long as one play of “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry - yes, I’ve checked - you won’t spend nearly as much time in the shower as you want to. I’ve only learned to embrace the dirt because I have no other choice. Also, there is nothing wrong with leaving your boots in the hall. Everyone does it.

     In the northwest, scarves are a fashion statement. That is not true here. Some days, it gets very cold, and since New England is hardcore, you will still have to walk to class in four degrees Fahrenheit. (As a side note, I did most of my venting about winter last year to a friend in New Zealand, where it was approximately ninety every day.) If you don’t want your throat to hate you for the 9 AM walk to Slosberg and back, you should probably wear a scarf. And if you have asthma-like me, you should wear a scarf. 

     When you walk into any building, the floors will be wet and gross. (This is especially true for Upper Usdan. You’ve seen how hellish it is in the rain, just wait until you see it in the snow.) Watch your step and focus on not slipping, and you’ll be okay. 

     There will be random huge piles of snow everywhere even after the rest of the snow has melted. Don’t question them. 

     If you ever want to impress your family, especially your grandparents, send them a screenshot of the weather forecast or the view from your window. My mom is from Washington, my dad was born in California and raised in Oregon, and my whole family has been on the west coast for just about forever. They are always impressed. 

     You probably have a few cute outfits. You will not wear them in the cold unless you are much braver than me. You will probably wear jeans and long underwear (this is a must!), a shirt, a sweatshirt, and your coat, along with your boots, which may completely ruin the look. You may also wear more than one pair of socks. Things may not match. It’s okay. 

     That being said, wear flannel! It’s a great fabric for insulation, and I think it’s pretty cute. (Or maybe I’m just from the northwest and gay.)

     Wear layers, not just because they’ll help insulate you from the cold, but because Brandeis cranks up the heat like nobody’s business and there are some places (looking at you, SCC library!) that are always around 70-80 degrees even when the temperature is a quarter of that. Wear a light hoodie or sweatshirt under your coat and you’ll be good to go.

     This is something no one talks about, but a lot of coats will have a little faux fur lining on the hood. This is good for catching snowflakes if you have to walk somewhere when it’s actively snowing and you want to be able to see. 

     And finally, if you’re like me and live somewhere on campus where it’s difficult to get to Sherman on the weekends, get some microwave meals to tide you over. (And some fruits and veggies to eat them with.) I’m talking Easy Mac, Cup Noodles, Lean Cuisine butternut squash ravioli, the works. Also come on down to my room in East, because I have an electric kettle for all your tea/hot cocoa/apple cider needs.