Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Collegiette’s Guide to Surviving Minnesota Winters

One of the first things that comes to mind when people from other states think of Minnesota is the unbearable cold and the excessive snow. Outsiders tend to believe that we’re trapped in a mini Ice Age from November to April every single year, when we all hibernate by our fireplaces with a cup of hot cocoa in our hands. This image that people have of us Minnesotans isn’t entirely false; we do get about 54 inches of snow a year in Minneapolis, and the average low in January can be just 8 degrees. The bottom line is, getting through Minnesota in the winter is a struggle. There’s an additional level of intensity by going to the University of Minnesota where you have to go from East Bank to West Bank to the Saint Paul campus and then all the way back. Sure, public transportation and layering your clothes are some obvious ways to help combat this intense chill, but here are some other ways to help you survive this winter in Minnesota:

Dress smart.

Yes, if you dressed like Randy from a Christmas Story every single day, I’m sure it would feel like you’re on the beach in Florida. But nobody wants to waddle around our huge campus in a ridiculous snowsuit. Instead, invest in a parka or a long coat that is big enough to hide a few layers of clothes under. And make sure you’re either wearing or carrying around in your backpack a pair or two of gloves and a scarf. You may not use them some days, but you’re going to be grateful you have them other days.

Make sure your feet stay dry.

My biggest suggestion for winter apparel to people is to make sure you have the right boots. I know that many people are a fan of Uggs, but these boots don’t stand a chance in a battle with Minnesota winters. Plus, they don’t have traction. Save yourself some embarrassment and avoid nasty bruises by investing in a better pair of boots. I personally wear Sorel boots around campus because I know for a fact that my warm and toasty toes aren’t going to be angry with me. If new boots aren’t in the budget, wrap your feet in Ziploc baggies inside your boots to make sure they stay dry.

Don’t let your skin get dry.

It’ll instantly hit you hard–Your lips will all of a sudden be very chapped and your hands will basically be crying, but don’t let your skin feel like you’re in a desert. Carry around chapstick and lotion everywhere you go. Be a good person and offer your lotion to a friend who’s feeling the struggle too. Also, now more than ever, make sure you’re giving your face some TLC. Moisturize nightly and exfoliate your skin once a week to get rid of dead skin cells.

Check the weather, but dress for the worst case scenario.

If I’ve learned one thing about living in Minnesota for the past 19 years of my life, it’s the fact that Mother Nature has a mind of her own. One day, it’ll be 70 degrees and sunny and the next day it’ll be a blizzard. In the colder months, there’s not as drastic of a change, but there’s still a lot of room for error. Always expect the worst because you can always take off a layer of clothing, but you might not always have time to run home and grab a sweater.

Make the most out of nice days.

We’re so fortunate to have days above zero, so when they occur, you better be outside and build a snowman or go ice skating or even just decide to walk to class instead of taking the bus. Learn to enjoy the moments where you don’t feel like your face is going to freeze off. There are so many fun things to do in the winter in Minnesota, so make the most of your warm(ish) days! You can reflect on these days when you’re stuck inside.  I know that most people would rather be laying out in the sun in Mexico, but we need to appreciate the Minnesota version of warmth when we can.

Make the most out of not-so-nice days.

When it’s negative 20 degrees and it’s a battle to simply breath when you’re outside, go back inside and enjoy a day in. Curl up with your fave movies and start a movie marathon. Find a yummy recipe on Pinterest for hot cocoa and snuggle with your boo (or a heating blanket in my case)!

Safety first.

Along the lines of staying inside on the chilly days, make sure you don’t go out into the brisk air if it’s too harmful to be outside. Even if your class isn’t cancelled for the snow or the cold, try to email your professor and let them know that your safety is at risk. Don’t put yourself in a threatening situation; your school schedule should come second to your health. This is especially important for those of you who commute to campus; if the roads are bad, don’t risk driving into the city and potentially getting stuck in a ditch, or worse, in an accident. 

Carry extra clothes in your car.

If you commute or have a car on campus, fill it with winter essentials wherever you go. Have an extra pair of gloves, a scarf and some sweatshirts because there’s always a chance of your car breaking down in the extreme cold. Don’t forget to put a window scraper in there as well! It’s very dangerous to be in a situation where you may be without warmth.

Donate to those less fortunate.

There are so many people who are in need in the winter season. It’s vital that they receive proper clothing for the cold days ahead. If you have an extra coat or hat that you’re not using, please consider donating it to someone without one. This website gives many places that accept donations, so do some research and find one close to you.

Stay warm, stay dry, and stay safe this winter, Gophers!

Erin Gallagher is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota studying child psychology. Her dream job is being a therapist for adolescents and helping them through their difficult times. In her freetime, she loves to lift weights at the gym and see movies with her friends. Follow her on Instagram to see what she's up to! @eringallagher96
Similar Reads👯‍♀️