How to Survive Illinois in the Winter

Written and Media by Mary Todd Christian


We haven’t quite made it out of fall yet, but before we know it, winter will be upon us. For those who have grown up experiencing an Illinois winter, this is no big deal. Then there are some such as myself who are still adjusting to the Midwest winters. While I’ve only spent two winters in Illinois, I quickly learned a few tips to help survive winter during the school year!


Invest in a Good Winter Coat
While I grew up in an area that experienced the cold, it wasn’t nearly as bitter as it is out in the Midwest. However, this might be an even more difficult transition for students who come from an area that rarely experiences cold weather. If you are one of these students, definitely take the time to invest in a coat even if you are only going to use it at school. The majority of the time we are in school is during the fall and winter months. If you are concerned about dropping too much money on a coat you may never wear at home, plan on shopping at the local thrift store. They have a plethora of winter coats available for a very affordable price. While they may not be the most stylish, just keep in mind “style” isn’t always going to keep you warm.

Get Some Winter Gear
Along with a good coat, there will be a need for the proper winter gear. This means investing in boots, or at least some shoes with a decent amount of traction when it’s slick outside. Again, if you are a student who will only use these articles of clothing at school, take a gander at the thrift store or nearby Goodwill to find some clothing for an affordable price. Also, make sure to bundle up in hats, gloves and scarves. You may look like the marshmallow man, but in the end, you’ll be toasty warm!

illinois winter2
Photo by Mary Todd Christian
(Winter 2010)

Tips for Commuters
If you are a commuter, only come to school when it’s safe to do so. The road will get dangerous quickly. Even if you close to campus a lot can happen in a short commute. There is no reason to risk an accident. If you are unable to make it school, make sure to inform your professors and let them know you won’t be in class. I assure you they will understand.

Keep Checking the Weather
I am probably far to addicted to my weather app on my cell phone. But in reality, it is good to be aware of the weather. As we all know, the weather can change at the drop of a hat. One moment it can be cold as the dickens, the next it will be snowing. It’s good to have an idea of what the weather will be like from day to day as well. This way, you can plan what to wear a day ahead before bad weather arises.

Watch for Ice 
Don’t play on the ice… This sounds like a pretty obvious rule, but you can definitely hurt yourself by taking a risk on the ice. Even just walking to class can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Make sure to walk carefully, slowly and don’t run! If you need too, leave your dorm a little earlier to make it to class on time.

For this coming winter, be prepared to bundle up and stay safe!



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