As a native New Englander, I’ve seen my fair share of bad winters. I’ve built an ice rink in my backyard, felt my wet hair freeze at the bus stop, and had my car spin out while driving through the snow. Yet despite twenty years of experience blizzards and black ice, even I have to admit: this winter is a bad winter.
While I had watched the inches of snow accumulating from my bedroom window in Rhode Island over J-term, most students were shocked to find campus covered with a blanket of snow upon their return. On our first day of class, temperatures dipped below 0°F as students bundled up to trudge to lecture. By the end of January, the city of Boston had been barraged with 44 inches of snow – most of which lay in giant snowbanks on the side of the road.
There’s no question that winter at Harvard has its unique twists. On the one hand, there’s nothing more picturesque than the Yard blanketed in white. On the other hand, Cambridge was not exactly built with modern conveniences like gutters or wide sidewalks, which turns navigating the puddles and piles of snow into a wild adventure. Something I’d never really considered before coming to college: most people have never experienced winter. The easiest way to tell who’s a seasoned snow veteran is by looking at footwear – anyone who’s spent much time in the cold is ready with a hardy pair of boots, while the rest of us are left hopping around the muck in flats and sneakers. Waterproof shoes are a must in Cambridge!
The easiest way to survive the winter, however, is to remember a few key rules:
- Invest in a pair of boots. Make sure they’re 100% waterproof, have some traction, and are a relatively neutral style; trust me, you’ll be wearing them every day.
- The loud noise you hear in the middle of the night is the snowplow, and yes, they are going to plow all night.
- If the puddle on the corner looks like it might be frozen, let the person walking in front of you test it out.
- Stand a foot or so back from the curb whenever you’re crossing the street. Cars have a nasty habit of splashing dirty snowmelt as they go driving by.
- Get a hat! It’s an easy way to fight the cold. In general, the sillier the better!
- Make sure to give the shower a couple minutes to heat up before you step in, the pipes get really cold this time of year!
- Learn to layer up when you head out in the morning, so you don’t have to keep your wool sweater on all day.
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