Winterizing, Columbia Style

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I really should know better. Not only do I go to school at Columbia College Chicago, but I also grew up in the area. So I should not have been surprised when Mother Nature unleashed her latest one-two combo of wind and snow. I can adapt to this pretty quickly because I grew up in the cold. I felt bad for people that don’t know how to adjust. Therefore, I dedicate this blog to those people coming to Chicago who will be exposed to frigid winter weather for the first time.

Here’s what you should know. First and foremost, winter is not that bad. Common sense is the best way to approach the cold. If in doubt, wear something warm. It’s that simple. But there’s a trick. When winterizing, you have to know where to get your equipment. Never ever buy cold weather clothing in warm weather environment. That big puffy coat you bought in Miami may look winter ready, but it wouldn’t stop a light breeze. If you are from places like Florida, Georgia, or Alabama, wait until you get to Chicago before buying winter clothes. I also recommend checking for Thinsulate lining. You’ll find it in jackets and gloves. Boy does it make a difference. Also, get yourself a few good pairs socks. If your feet are warm, the rest of your body will be warm.

I don’t want you to think I’m down on Chicago weather. That’s not the case at all. I only want you to be prepared. In fact, I think the weather is one of the great things about living in Chicago. Even though it snowed hard enough to shut down Columbia for a few hours, I didn’t mind. There’s something calming about watching a heavy snow and seeing everything blanketed in white.

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I spent quite a few years in California before coming back to Chicago. Many of my mid-west and east coast friends talked about how we missed weather. I always looked forward to the first snowfall.

Another thing I noticed was that, in the absence of seasonal cues, people tend to develop a sense of complacency. You feel like you’ve got all the time in the world because nothing seems to change. However, after basking in the sun for two years, you still haven’t made a change.

Dealing with weather motivates you to work harder, be more productive, and value time. These are traits that can help you anywhere. So I’m going to zip up my coat, go face the elements, and build character.