The first snow of the season is just around the corner and this event brings about a whole variety of reactions. Newcomers who are experiencing their first morning waking up to this pure, white blissfulness; run outside with their friends, in adorable outfits and laughingly throw snow in the air, perfectly displaying pearly white smiles for all to see. Within seconds of returning indoors, these ecstatic individuals instantly upload this picturesque moment to the web and proceed to blowup social media with captions containing: #firstsnow #happy #white #fluffy #letitsnow #callmeElsa #frozen #whitechristmas…. while Snowpocalypse veterans are curled under 50 blankets cringing, at the harsh reality that has so evidently become apparent… Winter. Is. Here.
Now I’m being a little dramatic and just trying to be a tad humorous; however, most Midwest outsiders have heard about the “horrors” of Iowan winters and seriously question the ability to endure such awful conditions. I am here to tell you, it’s really not that bad- if I survived you can too. I loveeee summer and there is absolutely no exaggeration implied with those extra E’s; I live for hot days where I can wakeboard and surf with friends. One might say: “But you’re from Michigan, you’ve experienced winter before; so you don’t understand what us Texans or Californians are going through!” Yes, this is very true, I have spent many months of my life surrounded by snow, but that doesn’t mean I like it! I’m all for spending Christmas Day surrounded by cotton ball fluff; however, once mid-January hits I’m ready for this white substance to peace out, but sadly, that is not how seasons work.
As a result, I wanted to provide you doubters with some helpful hints on how to beat the cold. I also want to promise that I am not lying to you, my dear readers, or evading the reality of this chilly season—whatever is written in this blog is the absolute truth of what I perceive these winters to be like and how I made it through; so here we go:
Mycah’s Survival Guide to Iowan Winters
3 things that make Iowan winters difficult:
So what is the theme here? WIND. There are very few trees in Iowa so the wind is intense. Wind-chill is an actual thing and when checking the weather in the morning, place all focus on this given temperature; especially when outside is already indicated to be below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This is your official warning, so please take it to heart; and now that the worst part is over with, we can move on to the fun stuff. :)
Essential purchases to ensure survival:
1. Coat- This article of clothing is crucial. Like I said above, the wind is nasty; so what should you do? Invest in a durable and warm coat. This means one that is made to handle extremely cold weather conditions and will keep you cozy. Some quality brands that I have found useful and worth the money include: Eddie Bauer, Burton, North Face, Carhartt, and surprisingly Costco (haha this place honestly has everything- it’s the bomb).
1. Females: Coat preference varies for everybody, but from my experience, I always get a longer coat with a hood; so that the material covers from just above my knee all the way to my face— to be honest sometimes I feel like an Eskimo or a Yeti since I’m 6’4.
2. Males: I’m obviously not a guy; so any advice I would attempt to give, you would most likely consider invalid—but hoods are extremely helpful!
2. Boots and Beanies- You don’t need to invest in legit snow boots if you don’t want to—Dordt’s maintenance team does an incredible job of keeping the sidewalks clear of snow drifts; however, some days it has proven to be beneficial. That being said, always rock the beanie or at least a scarf; especially if your coat lacks a hood, because otherwise you are going to face a very chilly walk to class. The Dordt College Blades Hockey team and the bookstore actually sell some awesome hats; so once you become a Defender, you could always purchase one from them. :)
3. Layer: Learn to wear multiple layers of clothes and that’s about it.
4. Develop an addiction to hot drinks: Buy a travel coffee cup and fill it with all sorts of delicious beverages. For example: coffee, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, or the Fruited Plain’s Jamaican Tea (it’s so good and actually tastes like apple pie!).
Tips to survival:
DON’T walk outside with wet hair- Girls this advice is directly intended for you. When it is cold outside and you walk out with wet hair; sometimes it will literally freeze and you will spend the next 5 minutes thawing it out in class—trust me I learned the hard way.
Be Dora the Explorer and plan your route- When walking to and from different locations on campus, develop a course that utilizes as many buildings as possible. The more warm areas you can walk through, the better off you will be; and if this means zig-zagging across campus, so be it!
Learn the shuffle- Sometimes the salt spread on the walkways doesn’t have time to melt the ice before students begin walking on them; so be cautious and learn to shuffle your feet. This process will save you from many embarrassing falls on the way to class; however, if you do end up absolutely biffing it, just laugh it off, because every single Dordt student and faculty member has probably fallen at least once—so you’re not alone.
How to make it fun:
Go to the hot tub in the All Seasons Center with a group of friends to thaw your frozen bodies. It’s free for Dordt students and is a great way to spend your nights, because it’s open year around and there is also a water park!
Go sledding. Trust me, I realize there are not many hills in Iowa; so the solution lies in getting creative and making your own speed—it’s a blast. Now… let me clarify, I purposely did not list examples, because I don’t want to get in trouble. Therefore, I am NOT encouraging any exact form of increased swiftness and whatever you do come up with-- please be careful and use caution. :)
Visit the various fireplaces around campus with friends and play games, while drinking your selected hot drink from above!
Discover a new hobby. For example, I learned how to knit—call me an old lady, but I was pretty proud of myself haha
Enjoy just being with your friends and making jokes about how crazy cold it is. Huddling together as you slip and slide to class is an experience that will never be forgotten. Everybody is undergoing the same weather; so just laugh about your current situation and realize that summer is just around the corner.
So there yah go! This was just a “brief” outline of how I learned to tolerate, but also oddly enjoy the Iowan winters. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment box below- don’t be shy. I completely understand this frigid weather is daunting, but don’t let it hold you back from experiencing this wonderful campus. Attending Dordt College more than compensates for anything Jack Frost has to throw at Northwest Iowa.