Closeup of a crab apple tree during the winter, covered in snow.

Surviving (and Thriving!) during Michigan Winters

Written By Gladys Oster

Michiganders, myself included, will complain about the winters all their lives, but the truth is we secretly love it. Sure, it can be a pain trudging through snow to class, but it’s not hard to find ways to survive the cold days and nights. All you need are some insider tips and tricks:

  1. Boots: “Never underestimate the power of having a good pair of boots,” Reed Lawe, ’20, says. You’ll need multiple pairs, though, from the stylish booties and classic Timberlands to the high boots you’ll use to make your trek to classes up the hill.
  2. Scarves: “I’ve grown up with snowy winters. I have found a scarf to always be a wise choice. It’s also a really easy way to showcase your unique sense of style,” Rowan Macwan, ’20, says. They’re the last thing you’ll think to grab, but you won’t regret it.
  3. Coats: “If that means you wear the thickest, fluffiest coat known to man, then wear it and don’t feel embarrassed,” Macwan emphasized. A warm, durable coat will be your greatest investment.No one will judge you for looking like an Eskimo. Bundle up!
  4. LAYER, LAYER, LAYER: That sweater might seem warm, but is it warm enough? Throw on a long-sleeve shirt, a sweater, and then your coat! You may be a little toasty once you feel the heat as you walk into Kendall or Lane, but you can always take a layer off when necessary.
  5. Watch your footing: Sophomore Madison Rathbun says, “I wiped out last year, and although it was lowkey epic and felt like slow motion, be extra careful to not hit a slick spot.”

Winters aren’t just about looking like a marshmallow and avoiding chapped lips. There are many benefits of spending winters in the Midwest–particularly at Hillsdale College–that will make you enjoy, and maybe even look forward to, the winter. Some RAs have offered their insight:

  1. Sledding at Hayden Park: “It brings back so much childhood joy,” Madison Rathbun, ’21, says. Hayden Park is still open to students throughout the winter for sledding escapades and other outdoor fun.
    Snowball fights: It is not uncommon to see spontaneous snowball fights break out on the quad. Others stick to building snowmen and making snow angels.
  2. Campus Health and Rec’s Annual Ski Trip: Put on by Campus Recreation, many students sign up for a weekend of skiing and bonding with friends. The location changes from year to year.
  3. Movie and cocoa nights: Many RAs are planning to organize nights of relaxation in the dorms with movies and hot cocoa, along with other sweets, to give students a nice study break.
  4. Winter/Christmas Decor: Decorations make the dorm feel more like home and a warm place to thaw out after a long day in the snow.

Gladys Oster, ’22, plans to study psychology and journalism at Hillsdale. In her free time, she loves to read murder mysteries and eat dark-chocolate covered pretzels.