In honor of the first snow of this academic year, which happened on Thursday, November 9th, I felt it was appropriate to talk about the weather at RIT, and how to be best prepared for it.
You see, I’m an international student from Mexico, so if anyone was worried about the weather, it was me! Up until I came to RIT, I didn’t own winter clothes – just a few sweaters – and the coldest temperature I had ever experienced was around 30° F (just below 0° Celsius, for any international students wondering). I quickly understood that sweaters would not be enough, so I had to scramble to get winter clothes before the winter started.
Thankfully, you won’t have to run into the same issue, because by reading this blog you’ll be fully prepared before you come to campus! Here’s what you should know:
- How long is winter? The cold weather begins right around mid-November, and it can last all the way through April. The coldest months are definitely January and February.
- Don’t be afraid of the Winter. Yes - it gets really cold, but with the appropriate clothing, you should be just fine. Winter can actually be really pretty, especially if you’ve never seen snow before.
- - Invest in good Winter gear! You want to get the following items:
- A durable, waterproof winter coat or jacket (I recommend down feather jackets)
- Snow Boots (make sure they are waterproof!)
- Gloves (you can even get gloves that allow you to use your touchscreen so that using your phone doesn’t hurt).
- Hats or Earmuffs: If there is one part of your body that actually physically hurts during the cold, it’s your ears! Make sure that you have those covered.
- Wool socks! Warm feet are happy feet. While you want to focus on keeping your core warm, your extremities need some love too.
- Sunglasses: This doesn’t seem like an obvious one, but when the sun is out during the winter, it reflects off of the snow on the ground, and it can really damage your eyes.
- Learn how to use the tunnels. You won’t be able to get everywhere through the tunnels, but you can minimize the time you have to be outside significantly. Luckily, you’ll have about 3 months to practice using the tunnels before it starts becoming necessary, so you’ll find the fastest route to get to your buildings.
- Check your weather app before leaving your room. Rochester is notorious for having unpredictable weather, and even on days where the mornings are warm, the evenings can suddenly turn into an arctic tundra. You may get to experience all four seasons in a single day! Knowing what to expect throughout the day will allow you to be ready for whatever comes your way (I always have an umbrella, gloves and ear muffs in my backpack, just in case).
- Check for Windchill. When you open your weather app, the temperature may be deceiving, and you may think it is warmer than it will actually be. That is because, in Rochester, the wind is the real killer. With wind chill, a temperature of 20° F could feel like 2° F (or less!), so make sure that you scroll down on your weather app until you find the “Wind Chill” or “Feels Like” temperature.
- Have Fun! If you have taken the appropriate measures, and are dressed appropriately, playing in the snow is so much fun! Don’t let the cold weather deter you from having a snowball fight, going sledding, skiing, etc. You are going to be surrounded by snow for a few months, so learn to enjoy it.
If you are still worried about the winter, and that is something that may be preventing you from coming to RIT, I have this to say: If I could survive my first winter here, EVERYONE can survive their first winter here. I hope this was helpful!