As a Southern California girl, one of the most exciting and daunting things about attending school in Missouri was the idea of winter. Gone were February beach trips and Thanksgiving surrounded by palm trees. I was finally going to experience the most magical time of year– for a full season.
Sadly, every Christmas movie ever made lied to me about the realities of winter. There were no talking snowmen, and most of the time the beautiful white snow I had in my head was actually caked in black dirt.
Now having lived through one Midwestern winter I am the true expert. Well maybe not, but here are some of the many things I learned during my first winter.
You will be way more excited than anyone else
I spent a good portion of November asking everyone I talked to how long it would be until it would snow for the first time. Oooh! The first sign of snowfall in late November sent me skipping through the dormitory corridors! I begged friends to go outside to play, and they graciously indulged the overeager Californian while the rest of my dorm-mates rolled their eyes and went about their business.
Winter is looooong
In California, it usually cools down in mid-December and then its back to shorts weather by February. Winter in Missouri lasts November to March, and sometimes later. I honestly had no idea that it could very well snow over spring break and that I wouldn’t even be touching my shorts until mid-May.
It’s completely normal to get a little sad
I distinctly remember crying to my roommate in March because I was overwhelmed by the incessant winter weather. I hated not being spend time outside and always having to bundle up. I thought I was just too weak for winter, but my roommate clued me in – the winter blues happen to lots of people. Those icy, blustery days of the end of winter only makes the spring sweeter.
It can actually be dangerous
I never grew up understanding that winter has the potential to be dangerous. I mean sure driving could be dangerous, but the cold itself being dangerous never crossed my mind. I learned the hard way when I would consistently forget a coat and walk outside in sub 20-degree weather wearing only a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Special shout out to my freshman year roommate who always reminded me to take a jacket as I ran out the door. #Thanks(stand in)Mom
You will overbuy
I spent a good portion of the fall buying an entirely new winter wardrobe, but nearly every day I wore the same green North Face coat I found on a clearance rack. My new, cute sweaters were shoved to the back of my closet in favor of the sweatshirts and leggings I wore throughout the winter. You may want to get all geared up, but test the temp and wait for the season to turn until you choose what you actually need.
Wind chill is a thing and it’s awful
I never even knew that wind chill existed or that it was more important than the actual temperature. I learned very quickly that the wind is the worst part of the winter and has a huge effect on how cold you feel. It’s not something to be taken lightly.
My first winter was arguably the most exciting thing about freshman year. From my first snow day ever to my first time trying to walk home with the ground slick from ice, I loved it all. I’m excited to craft my expertise even more this winter. Good luck to all you west coasters out there, get ready for one crazy season.