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1 Degree Fahrenheit: Could You Take It?

Our campus after snowstorm Nemo hit on Friday
Our campus after snowstorm Nemo hit on Friday

Three weeks into the spring semester and guess what? A major snowstorm, called snowstorm Nemo, has already hit and my college had to shut down operations. Yes, I definitely enjoyed the lazy day thoroughly, but the cold? Not so much.

I was a spring admit, so I got to America towards the end of December last year. However, since 2011 was such a mild winter, I really did not get to experience the New England weather that everyone kept talking about. Yes, it did snow. And yes, it was a very new experience for me. However, for the most part the cold was bearable, and I was just about fine with how the semester went.

This year I got to experience the full force of the snow. You can see how deep it was.
This year I got to experience the full force of the snow. You can see how deep it was.

This year turned out to be a very different experience though. The very day I got back from my winter break, which I spent further south in Washington, D.C.,, I found myself very much under-dressed for the cold that had hit New England. The first week of classes turned out to be a disaster with the temperature falling as low as one degree on one of the days. Classes were not cancelled (people here are used to it) and I was left with no other option but to trudge in the cold.

Adjusting to the weather is something that all of us international students have to deal with when we move to the U.S. Some of us have to adjust to the cold, others have to adjust to a hot climate; it depends on where you’re coming from and where you’re going to. I have been asked many times by incoming freshman students from my home country what clothes they should bring and how I knew what to bring when I came.

My answer is simple: Google cannot tell you correctly what you do and don’t need to bring. You have to draw upon people’s experiences. I remember messaging and emailing my friends at Mount Holyoke left, right, and center to get a sense of how cold it would be and what I should bring. It was through our conversations back and forth that I learned important words like parka, fleece, bubble jacket, UGGs and snowboots.

Bundled up in my cold weather gear.
Bundled up in my cold weather gear.

But then the question was: where do I get these things cheaply in my home country? There was more back and forth. Eventually I concluded that my best bet would be to come to the States and then buy my winter clothes once I was here.

I know for a fact that all of you international students faced a similar dilemma and solved it in your own ways. I found this way to be the best, and would recommend it highly to all the prospective students out there.

For the first few days, I definitely had a hard time deciding what was warm enough or what was not so warm. However, now in my third semester, and second winter in America, I think I know what to buy, what prices to expect, and how to build a winter wardrobe.

As I sit in my room writing this blog, enjoying a lazy Friday , even with the heat blasting I could feel that my hands were a tad bit cold. But no matter how much I detest it, I have gotten used to it. I know now how much I have to layer up before I leave my room when the weather gets this bad (my bubble jacket paired with my fleece and scarf), what shoes to wear (my furry, warm UGG boots), and how many pairs of socks I need (I don’t know about you all, but I wear two layers…no judging)!