How to Survive a Wisconsin Winter Coming From California

The first thing people ask me when I tell them I attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison is “How do you deal with the cold winters?” People from California cannot wrap their heads around the fact that I choose to leave the typically sunny and 70 degree year-round weather for winters that can reach -20 degrees or lower. If you come from a usually warm weathered state and are attending a college with harsh winters, here are some tips I’ve learned from spending three winters in Wisconsin. 

  • Shop Online: When I was looking for a winter coat in California, there were almost none, especially if you’re trying to buy one in the summer before you leave for school. The ones that I did find were definitely not fit for keeping you warm in extremely cold conditions. You’ll find a much better selection of winter coats online.
  • Keep Your Head Warm: You may be thinking, if your body is warm, then you’re all set to face the cold. However, it’s just as important to keep your head warm. While hoods on your sweatshirt or coats may do the trick, I suggest buying a beanie to ensure you won’t be uncomfortably cold. 
  • Buy a Scarf: During my first two Wisconsin winters, I didn’t have a scarf and I undoubtedly regret not purchasing one sooner. On a cold day with harsh winds your face will get extremely cold, especially if it’s snowing. I bought a large scarf to pull up over my nose and mouth and it has made my walks to class in the winter immensely more enjoyable. You can also buy a colorful one to bring a pop of color to your winter outfit. 

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