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If you are an international student, starting your new life at Harvard is exciting for many reasons. New friends, new experiences, new traditions and of course: new times. If you’re like me and come from a place that hasn’t seen snow since the last Ice Age, fear not, because my brief time on campus before Covid-19 taught me a bit about what means living in a city where time literally wants to kill you.

Your high tops are NOT snowshoes

Do you know those must-have sneakers that you rely on for most occasions? Scuffed Converse, crispy AF1s or Vans with the huge hole in the toe box … you know those. Yeah, that won’t work. If you hate wet socks as much as I do, you’ll invest in a sturdy pair of boots that will get you through anything from a deep puddle to a snow party in the snow with your roommates.

Your current jacket is inadequate

Back home I had a trusty jacket that would get me through the colder days of Los Angeles winters (mid-50s Fahrenheit). When I got to Cambridge I thought, this jacket will be fine, right? It was not very good. My trusty jacket could barely get me through a fall day. What about the rain? Forget that. Bottom line: Invest in a weatherproof coat. They are more expensive than your average outerwear, but you will only need one more, it will last your entire college career.

What is Canada Goose?

If you are already on campus, you may have noticed that some students go through the cold with some confidence. Maybe you noticed their trendy parkas: the ones with the circular red, blue and white logo. It’s the trademark of Canada Goose, the trendy and expensive outerwear brand that you will see many college students exercising during your time at Harvard. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have one. The geese will thank you.

Accessorization is compulsory

Back in your hometown, I’m sure you’ve rarely, if ever, thought of parts of the body like your neck, fingers, or ears as needing special protection from the elements. Now is the time to give them some love, so that your fingers don’t turn blue and your ears fall out. Invest in gloves and hairstyles! Get a scarf! It’s more than just a fashion statement, it’s SURVIE.

Onions have diapers, ogres have diapers, winter clothes have diapers

As you reimagine yourself in college, it can be tempting to dress to impress. But if the temperatures are below freezing, it’s better to go to class looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy than to catch hypothermia on the way. Dress in layers! Think thermal underwear, leggings, and several pairs of warm socks.

If I worried you, don’t worry! You’ll likely survive this winter, either because you’ve done your research and prepared yourself, or your roommates will take pity on you and lend you gifts. Of course, you won’t always be able to walk around in a t-shirt and shorts, but it will be worth it when in the dead of winter you see your snowman’s gaze and feel that warm feeling in inside.

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