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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I hate the cold. There’s no other way around it, no point in dancing around the facts with sweetened words and under-exaggerations. I find anything under forty degrees unbearable. What doesn’t help is the fact that my hometown right outside of Philadelphia is considerably warmer than Selinsgrove–and the fact that I spend a considerable amount of time outside.

Take it from me: if I can survive the rural winter, then anyone can. Here are four tips to make those early morning classes in the bitter cold a bit more bearable.

Dress appropriately

This is one of the most obvious pieces of advice. Going to class became a lot more enjoyable after picking up a new winter coat during Thanksgiving Break (thanks, Dad).

A hat, gloves, and snow boots are other necessities for staying warm during Central PA winters. (Of course, my English major brain couldn’t go without mentioning a specific detail about snow boots, that being that they remind me of Captain Samuel Vimes “Boots” Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness. More on that later; I promise it becomes relevant).

But what happens without a winter coat? Well, I picked up my coat over Thanksgiving Break, and it got icy before then. It’s certainly possible to get through late fall without a winter coat. Stacking up on layers is imperative, whether it be three sweaters or an extra jacket. It’s important to protect yourself from the harsh temperatures; try to keep your ears covered and your fingers within your pockets. Boots of any sort are better than sneakers and leagues better than anything open-toed. The more insulation you have, the warmer you’ll be.

get creative with getting warm

Over the past few months, I’ve become familiar with more interesting ways to get warm. I already knew from experience to stay near patches of sunlight, which worked wonders in the Central PA cold. There’s been a few times when I picked up a hot chocolate from Scholarly Grounds just to be used as a beacon of warmth. My roommate told me about hand warmers, which become hot after you shake them. I’ve admittedly never heard of them until she told me, but they work. With a little creativity, almost anything can help provide a bit of comfort.

make shortcuts

Think of your route from your dorm to your classes. Are there any shorter routes you can take? Corners to cut? If there’s any way to make your classroom commute shorter, do it. Experiment with your routes before it gets cold so you’re already familiar with the fastest ways to your classes.

It can also be helpful to consider your location as well. How much sun does this area get? Is it crowded and often congested with students? Will I potentially be held up on my way back to class? These are all factors that can impact how long you stay exposed to the cold.

remember that you’re not alone

Remember how I brought up the Boots Theory? While the observation was made due to the fact that I can tell where I am because of the rocks in those boots, the rest of the theory is so much more important. Terry Pratchet writes: “But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

There is a certain amount of privilege to be able to afford good boots and a winter coat to keep you warm. I am lucky enough to have parents who bought me winter gear and a warm dorm to return to. Many others cannot say the same. There is even a degree of privilege at play as I sit writing this article, describing ways to keep warm that not every person could utilize.

To combat this privilege many of us have, I highly recommend donating winter gear this season. Operations such as One Warm Coat, Warm Coats and Warm Hearts, and Coats 4 Kids are accepting donations. There are also thrift shops, local stores, and community drives that can and should be considered when looking for a place to donate.

As we saw our first snow this week, staying warm is more important than ever. I hope that you, the reader, will join me in making a donation when you can; no one deserves to brave the cold alone.

As the days grow colder and the temperatures drop, keeping warm for the last few weeks in the semester is ever important. But with a little creativity, ingenuity, and a few extra layers, you can beat the cold before it could ever start to beat you.

"No woman was ever ruined by a book." – Jimmy Walker
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