Cool College Advice

With many seniors going to places much colder than Santa Barbara, we asked four alumni attending college on the East Coast and in the Midwest for advice on dealing with the cold.


Carina Tedesco

Margaret Lazarovits ‘14
University of Chicago, Illinois

Below zero temperatures are obviously something I wasn’t familiar with, and I think I’m still adjusting! However, make sure you have a warm, long coat that goes past your waist and sturdy snow boots. Looking cute isn’t nearly as important as fending off frostbite, but if you can make both work, then that’s great! The weather did affect my mental state more than I thought it would, so even though it’s cold, be sure to get out of your room and make plans to do things even when the weather is less than ideal. I know people who have even bought sun lamps to help with the transition. You’ll come to appreciate the Santa Barbara weather that much more, and soon you’ll be wearing shorts in 50-degree weather!

Cameron Morello ‘16
Middlebury College, Vermont

Going from California to Middlebury in the Northeast was definitely a significant lifestyle change. Waking up to the first snow of my freshman year was incredible, but the new capricious weather also meant that I had to check the forecast every morning. However, as a skier and lover of snow, going to Middlebury has been an awesome experience. For anyone making the move to a cold college next year, the new weather and lack of sun is definitely a shock, but the best advice I can give is to bundle up, enjoy the snow with friends when the weather is right and watch out for ice!

Pierce O’Donnell ‘16
Harvard University, Massachusetts

First things first, seasonal “depression” is absolutely a tangible phenomenon. I don’t say this to discourage anyone about an impending transition, but to encourage you to take advantage of the weather, whatever it may be, to avoid catching the winter woes. My roommates and I take a ski trip the first weekend of significant snowfall each winter and again in the spring when we wish it were warmer. Day-to-day, take advantage of the school’s indoor pool, eat lunch outside whenever it’s nice out during the winter, get layered up and play rugby in the snow. The best part about winter at college is that you have over a month break to get out of the cold, so the winter is really only a couple of months at the longest.

Natasha Heyer ‘17
Lehigh University, Pennsylvania

Buy a really good coat! Dress in layers because it’s really, really cold outside and then it’s really warm inside classrooms because they have the heater on. When people go out, they still wear skirts and tank tops even if it’s snowing, so I wear fuzzy socks for warmth. Honestly, I expected the adjustment to be 20 times worse, and it’s really not that bad as long as you have the proper gear. It’s kind of depressing when you don’t see blue sky for weeks at a time, but you can get used to it, and the snow can be really fun too. Also, I recommend a waterproof backpack. Amazon has them for like $30, and it’s so nice because you don’t have to stress about your notes or laptop getting wet.