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5 Things You Need to Know Before Your First Winter at Rochester

As a Philadelphia native, I didn’t worry too much about my first winter in Rochester. I experienced many snowstorms and chilly days, and thought that I had everything I needed to be prepared for my 19th winter – but I was sorely mistaken.

Winter in Rochester is no joke. When I tell anyone that I go to the University of Rochester, their initial reaction almost always involves some sort of quip about polar bears, blizzards, and a genuine wonder of how I manage the cold. These questions are completely valid and I’m going to share with you 5 tips on managing your first Rochester winter.

  1. Buy a long jacket and bring it when you move in!

I know this seems pretty obvious, but please bring a winter coat to school. My first year I made the unwise decision of only bringing a cute puffer jacket. The jacket had served me well for Philadelphia’s winters and I had assumed that I would be just fine with it here. I. Was. Wrong. 30 degrees in Rochester is not 30 degrees in Philadelphia. The lake effect is real and hits when you least expect it. Don’t be surprised by a random freezing day at some point in the middle of October – and be prepared! Swallow your pride and leave your fashionable puffers at home and commit to a long winter coat that goes past your knees. You will thank me later!

  1. Throw blankets!

Brining a couple throw blankets for your dorm room. It’s all about layering. It can get a bit cold at night and piling on an extra blanket or two can do you wonders. They’re cute and it gives you a chance to bring a bit of home to school while also effectively battling the elements!

  1. Hand Warmers

These little beauties have saved me countless times. You can easily purchase disposable hand warmers at CVS and put them between your hands and gloves when you’re walking outside for extended periods of time. My hand warmers have been so helpful in allowing me enjoy all the fun outdoor activities Rochester has to offer in the winter. I would never have been able to enjoy the outdoor skating rink on Eastman Quad without having my hand warmers.

  1. Hiking socks 

Hiking socks have changed my life. They’re perfect for trapping heat and keeping your toes warm under your snow boots, Doc Martens, or any other type of boot-like shoe you may be wearing in the winter. They’re so comfortable and very effective. Could not recommend bringing at least one pack of hiking socks enough!

  1. Learn the Tunnel System

University of Rochester’s tunnel system is incredibly helpful and has saved me from freezing snow many times. The tunnels connect the library to almost every academic building on the River Campus, and even Wilson Commons. Take the time to learn how to navigate through them – it will save you a lot of pain and shivering in the future.

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