By Rachel Gelabale
If you thought this would be Game of Thrones related, sorry, it is not. But you can keep reading!
Yes, it is that time of the year, where we say goodbye to our tank tops and shorts and throw on our mittens and coats. Winter is coming and it is about to snow.
If you have not read my previous blogs, let me introduce myself to you. My name is Rachel Gelabale, I am a 19-year-old international student from the Caribbean currently in my second year at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York. Why is this information relevant you might ask? Well, Upstate New York is beautiful with the changing seasons, but it can get very cold. As someone who has lived in the Caribbean for 18 years where the weather is usually 70 degrees all year round, I am not accustomed to the cold nor snow. While winter officially starts in late November early December, temperatures start to drop way before that. Around late October and early November there are already signs that winter is on the way.
My first time experiencing snow was amazing, I will never forget that day. I remember seeing the residence building covered in snow. Honestly, it looked just like how it would look on TV. I won’t lie, I got over this excitement very quickly because unlike the movies, it is very cold and the snow and cold stay for a long time. But I survived it and you can too! Here are some tips I learned from my first winter experience to help you in yours.
Tips on how to survive winter as a college student
1. Buy winter gear early.
By doing your winter shopping ahead of time, you can save tons of money. I suggest you start shopping at least 2–3 months before winter starts. You can also do your shopping at the near end of winter, in January & February, when winter items go on sale.
2. Invest in good quality warm clothes.
I highly suggest investing in good quality warm clothes. When it comes to shopping for a winter coat, it does not have to cost you an arm and a leg (be expensive). There are plenty of ways to buy winter coats, you can buy them online, in-store, or thrift shopping.
3. Buy good winter boots
When it came to my winter boots, I bought them immediately after I had arrived in the U.S., which was in early August. Make sure the boots are sturdy so when the ground is icy, you do not slip and fall.
4. Keep Cozy
Get yourself a thick, fluffy blanket. GCC’s residence apartments at College Village have a heater in the living room, so we can just put it on and leave the heat to circulate through the bedrooms. Even with the heater in the living room at night it is still nice to have extra blankets in your bedroom.
5. Take care of your physical and mental health
The temperature change tends to bring people down. This is known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD. It is highly suggested that you:
- Go outside whenever you can, especially when the sun is out.
- Stay active, whether by going to the gym, working out at home, or doing yoga.
- Seek counseling. Talking to someone is so important. Here at GCC, counselors are always there to chat whenever students need or want to, and they are free of charge.
6. Stay on top of your school work
For college students it is usually around the end of the semester where classes tend to get harder and due dates for assignments start to creep up. This means extra stress on top of the seasonal changes.
- If you are falling behind on your assignments, do not hesitate to contact your professor. Also, PLEASE use the tutoring services. At GCC there are plenty of tutors available to help students with any subject. I use the tutors all the time. Mostly for my writing exercises.
- Stay involved. At GCC they try their best to put on different activities for the students during winter. So, take advantage of the activities and use this time to interact with other people.
There is nothing that I nor you can do to stop winter from coming. But we can embrace the winter and enjoy it. This is the perfect time to take out your phone or camera and take some bomb pictures to freshen up your social media profiles. You can also take up some winter activities, go ice skating or snowboarding. But please don’t let the cold or dark get you down. Be productive and stay healthy!
Rachel Gelabale from Curaçao is attending Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York.