A New Englander's Take on Midwestern Winters

When I first applied to Northwestern, I never thought twice about winter in Evanston. I grew up in Boston where every year several feet of snow would fall and cancel school for a couple days. (See the picture above of a street in my neighborhood in 2015!) Snow days were the best — I felt so cozy inside drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book by a warm fire. Watching the snow was pretty, too. When no cars could drive on the road, the white snow and long icicles glistened against the sun, creating a beautiful winter scene. I never really had to shovel, either, because we had a neighbor who liked to earn money by digging out people’s cars, so my parents were happy to give him business. I could just stay comfortable and warm inside!

Even if I didn’t get a snow day, though, I knew how to deal with winter. I had my L.L.Bean boots, my Smartwool socks, my heavy coat, my Red Sox knit hat and my extra-thick gloves for the 40-foot trek from my house to the car and my car to school. (If I wanted, I could even rush out of the house without a hat if I was quick enough!) Sure, the cold would burn my face for a few moments, but as soon as the heat kicked in in my car or in school, I’d forget how chilly it was outside.

So, I figured that if I attended Northwestern, I’d be prepared for the freezing winters I’d been warned about, since I had some pretty frigid ones back home.

But even as a hearty New Englander, I was definitely not prepared.

While the amount of snow we get here is a mere dusting compared to the two-to-three feet (or more — again see that picture above) Boston annually receives, the temperature is much, much colder — and in college, you’re forced to walk outside!

If I want food, I have to walk outside to the dining hall. If I have class, I have to walk at least 10 minutes outside to get there. If I have a club meeting, I have to walk across campus. And if I have to get something basic at CVS, I have a pretty long trek in the cold.

There’s no avoiding the outside in the winter here like I could in Boston. I have no car (or fireplace) to warm me up, no snow days and not everything is shoveled.

And I’m certainly not used to this wind or the high only hitting 0 degrees…

While I’d love to say I’ve happily embraced these freezing temperatures, I really haven’t. I prefer deep snow and cozy days inside, but at least the freakishly cold climate here gives me bragging rights over my friends back home who freak out over 30 degrees. Oh well, spring is coming soon...ish...right?

Image Courtesy of GIPHY