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Pittsburgh Winter Survival Tips

Disclaimer: This article is satirical in nature and meant for entertainment purposes only. We do not advocate violating University rules or breaking the law. Please DO NOT take this seriously.

Surviving winter in Pittsburgh is an absolutely brutal experience. In my four years here, I’ve walked through rain, sleet, snow, hail, and a freakin’ polar vortex to get to my classes on time! Most Pitt students think a warm coat, a winter hat, and a decent pair of shoes will get you through the winter. Those people are wrong. Here are my tips to survive winter in lovely Siberia…I mean, Pittsburgh!

Look at this man! The cold fears him!!

1. Grow a beard: Yes, even you, ladies. As a bearded man, I can attest to the fact that a beard is essential to your survival while walking through the snowy, windy streets of Oakland on your way to Cathy. Why? Is it because the hair on your face keeps your face warm? Ha, nonsense! The real reason to have a beard in the winter is the Lumberjack Effect. The Lumberjack Effect (also known as the Ron Swanson Effect by Parks and Rec fans) is the phenomenon in which growing a beard will instantly make you manly. Have you ever heard a man complain that he’s cold? Of course you haven’t. And lumberjacks are the manliest of men! So guys and gals, grow yourself a beard and laugh at the cold!! (Warning. Side effects of the Lumberjack Effect include: irresistible urge to chop down trees, a wardrobe consisting entirely of flannel, and a love of pancakes.) 

And now “The Campfire Song” is stuck in your head.

2. Build a campfire: If you’re like me, you have a pile of empty pizza and Franzia boxes just lying in a pile around your dorm room or apartment. You think about getting rid of them, but it’s such a long walk to the dumpster or trash room on your floor in Towers. Why not be environmentally conscious and warm in these cold winter months by building a campfire? Campfires are great and not just because they keep you warm. They also add atmosphere for those cold, lonely nights with the one you love or pizza, depending on the state of your love life. Sure, you may have to deal with smoke alarms, angry RAs, and questions from your landlord, but who cares? You have a campfire in your place! Now, who brought marshmallows?

Meow, this cat has the right idea.

3. Make margaritas: Anyone who knows me knows that I love margaritas, especially strawberry margaritas. While you’d be correct to assume that strawberry margs are typically a summer drink, winter in Oakland is truly margarita season. But why, Kevin? What madness do you speak? Well friends, the lovely part about winter in Pittsburgh is that there’s always an abundance of snow, ice, and salt. Industrious Pitt students will trek out in the bitter cold to Atwood, Meyran, and Semple collecting snow, ice, and rock salt in pitchers. Sure, you may be saying the salt they use to melt ice has poisonous chemicals in it, but don’t worry about that! Just put in enough cheap rum and margarita mix and you’ll be fine. Trust me! I know people trying to be doctors. Some with better success than others. (Disclaimer: please don’t actually ingest the snow and rock salt from the street. It’s gross and probably not good for you.)


4. Get Ugg pelts: Centuries before North Face jackets were a thing, our primitive ancestors had to use animal pelts to stay warm in the winter months. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find rabbit fur gloves, deer skin pants, and beaver hats these days. Fear not, for there is a solution! Rather than hunting animals in the woods, start hunting Ugg boots in the concrete jungle of Oakland. I never purchased a pair of Uggs for myself, but when I learned about how amazingly warm and comfortable they were, I knew I had to get in on the action. Sure, I could have just purchased a pair of Uggs for myself, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I got in touch with my Stone Age ancestors and began hunting Ugg boots on Forbes Avenue. While I can’t get into details on how I actually procured the Ugg pelts due to an ongoing investigation, I will say this: Best. Decision. Ever. I have never been as warm as I was when I first put on my Ugg pelt snowsuit. It was truly a life changing experience and a must have for surviving winter.

A “summer” party in Russia.

5. Drink vodka all the time: You know what group of people know a thing or two about cold? Russians! These folks experience some of the most brutal winters in the world. How do they survive these winters? They drink vodka. If you’ve spent any time in the house parties of South Oakland, you are, no doubt, well aware of wonderful brands of vodka like Vlad and Pinnacle. In those glorious nights of debauchery, I bet you never realized that this wonderful clear alcohol was the key to your survival in the brutal Siberian cold of Pittsburgh. Vodka truly is the only thing to drink during winter. No matter how cold it gets, vodka never freezes. Drinking it provides a lovely warm sensation similar to wearing a think woolly coat. Hell, it’s clear so you could keep it in a water bottle without your recitation TA suspecting a thing. My motto after a few sips of vodka is if you can’t feel the cold, it isn’t actually cold. So channel your inner comrade and get more vodka in your life.

Well, there you have it. This is how you survive the brutal winters of Pittsburgh. Go forth and conquer the cold! (Results may vary.)

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Psychology and minoring in Political Science. I love writing and I have an opinion about virtually anything. I tend to write a lot about relationships and I try to add my unique male perspective to Her Campus. I enjoy listening to music, standup comedy, watching sports, and reading. 
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