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How to Survive Winter in the Valley

Having beautiful seasons that are ideal temperatures with the best scenery is one of the many perks to living in the valley. The spring is a perfect transition to summer, warm enough to hang out on the quad but still a bit chilly for shorts; the summers aren’t too extreme, but still hot enough to get a great summer glow; the mountains create a brilliant fall scene with orange and red leaves scattered all around campus. But winter, on the other hand, can get pretty brutal.

Anyone who has ever experienced a JMU winter knows that “cold” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Although the valley comes with many upsides, it also comes with a frigid, hand-numbing, teeth-chattering wind that makes your eyes water the moment you step outside.

So while you may think you know what to expect, unless you’ve lived in the mountains before, you better prepare yourself for the coming months. In order to get ready for the season, you should stock up on some essential items.

Bring out the winter gear!

Make sure to bring all of your winter gear back to school after break. You will need hats, gloves, and scarves. Although your jacket can keep you warm, you will want to cover as much of your body as you can while parading around in the wind between classes. Scarves and gloves come in any color, and you can get hats in all different styles to fit any look.

Put your boots on

If you are like any other girl, you probably already own a pair of boots. But if not, I suggest you get a pair…or two, or three. Get creative and pick your own style! I guarantee you will not regret investing in some boots. Plus, boots go with almost any look. You can even get a pair of boot socks to go with them and keep your feet even cozier!

Load up on the sweaters

Head to the mall and fill your closet with a variety of sweaters! Get different colors and styles to create your own look. Sweaters are cute and cozy, and you will definitely stay warm in the winter weather while walking around campus.


Leggings aren’t a must-have winter item, but I recommend getting a pair. Though leggings may seem thin, they actually do a pretty good job at keeping your legs warm. They even have some that are lined with fleece! And if you don’t like to wear leggings as pants, you can layer them under your jeans on extra cold days. So go grab yourself a pair of leggings, pair them with your boots and a new sweater, and you’ve created yourself a cute, winter outfit!

Winter Coat

One of the essential items to have for the season is a big winter jacket. It doesn’t matter what brand you are into, just make sure it’s thick! Windbreakers are great and some people even get insulated jackets, depending on their preference. You can get a neutral color to go with everything, or be bold and get a bright color to show off your style!

Layers on Layers on Layers

Finally, the most important thing to remember is to layer. Cardigans, sweaters, T-shirts, whatever you prefer, just layer! The valley wind is forceful, and often feels as if it’s pushing through your jacket and into your body, causing shivers down your spine; layers will help to avoid getting the chills.

Another perk of wearing layers is that they are easy to remove. While students rush to class, they often get hot in so much clothing, and stepping into a heated building after being in the cold only causes you to sweat. Layers can easily be taken off when you need to cool down, and put back on as you step back into the wind.


If you are an upperclassman and have experienced a winter at JMU before, you probably already have all of these items stocked in your closet ready to be taken out for the coming season. But if you have not experienced a winter in the valley, then as long as you follow these tips, you’re sure to survive the next few months at JMU.

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