Conquering the Winter

Aditi Khazanchi on Tuesday, 14 March 2017. Posted in International Students, Student Life

Weather in Rochester can go from one extreme to another, with sunny summers and chilly winters. For most international students coming from tropical climates, Rochester winters are completely a new experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind to prepare yourselves for the winter:

First up, don't be afraid of the winter! With the right clothing, you will do just fine.

Second, do not underestimate the cold! 

Invest in good winter gear
One way to prepare for the winter season is to have the right gear. If you are coming from a warmer climate, like I did, you may not have the right kind of clothes. I'd recommend that you buy it when you arrive in US. You will have a better time finding better quality winter gear made specifically for the weather here.

A list of winter gear you should definately have:
- A durable waterproof down feather jacket: Your normal woolen jackets will not be enough to survive Rochester winter! You require a good heavy jacket.
- Good snow boots: You wanna make sure your feet do not get wet and stay warm even in the snow.
- Gloves
- Scarves, hats (or earmuffs): Trust me when that wind hits, you need something covering your ears and face.
- Warm socks

Check your weather app before you leave your house
Always check your weather app for the day's forecast. Rochester weather can change by the hour! No kidding, there have been days when I go to class with a light jacket on. The sun's bright and it's not that cold. 2-3 hours later, I come out and everything is covered in snow.

Learn how to dress for the winters
Layer, layer, layer! I can not stress this enough! Layering allows you to keep warm and also be able to adjust to the varying temperatures. It's better to wear more clothes than less!

In India, we wear thermal inners because we do not have centrally heated houses. But, if you wear thermals here, you will heat up and sweat sitting inside the centrally heated buildings. Thus, wear layers over your clothes rather than inside. That way you can easily remove them once you are inside.

The wind is the killer
The wind feels like knives on your skin, a temperature of -7 will feel like -20. In many countries (such as India), winters do not get too windy, so woollen clothes will do the trick. But, just a jacket won't cut it. Get a hat that covers your ears, and a scarf that can cover your face and neck. Nothing but your eyes should be exposed.

The conversion struggle
You would need to deal with the conversion from celsius to Fahrenheit temperatures. To be honest, after two years at RIT I still struggle to understand weather in Fahrenheit.

Figure out what works for you
I have talked to so many international students, who are nervous about the winter. It does take time to get used to it. But, you figure it out! Like, some people feel extremely cold and require leg warmers underneath their pants. I personally have never needed thermal bottoms since I do not feel that cold in my legs.

BUT, the winter is absolutely gorgeous and fun too! Learn to have winter fun!
Do not lock yourself inside cause it's super cold out! Go play snowball fight with your friends, build a snowman or go sledding (seriously, it's so fun!). It's all about getting used to it. Learn how to dress up warm and you will be just fine!

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