How to Survive a Climate Change in College

ResourcesPlanning for College

If your hometown is on one side of the map and your college on the other, you’re not just looking at a change of scenery: It may also mean a climate change. (No, we’re not referring to global warming.)

Hot, Hot, Hot?
Flying south? Going west? For those heading toward a warmer environment, first and foremost, one word: sunscreen! One in six Americans eventually develops skin cancer, so you do not want to fry yourself, OK? Yes, we know you love the sun, and it loves you. (Small amounts of exposure are essential for your body to produce vitamin D.) But if you really feel you must get some color, go for a fake ‘n’ bake. Self-tanning lotions do not create the orange streaks they once did, and tanning salons offer plenty of decent spray-booth options (Mystic Tan, VersaSpa, Magic Tan). Just for the record, UV tanning beds are just as bad for your skin as the real thing, don’t be fooled.

Another essential? A good pair of sunglasses with UV protection. Protecting the eyes from sun damage is important and often overlooked. Shades also make a superslick fashion statement and are priceless on a walk of shame.

Speaking of fashion, if most of your closet consists of corduroy pants, alpaca sweaters and down jackets, we suggest you hit the mall for a shopping spree. Even if your college is in an area that has all four seasons, the beginning and end of the school year can get pretty hot and humid. Here are some warm-weather wardrobe must-haves:

  • Swimsuits (for lying out on the quad)
  • Shorts
  • Cotton T-shirts (especially with the school logo or mascot)
  • Tank tops
  • Flip-flops
  • A few sundresses (for the ladies)

Oh, and a few more things:

  • Get some allergy medicine just in case the warm weather has you feeling a little stuffy.
  • Invest in some bug repellent.
  • Buy a refillable water bottle, especially if you’re athletic or otherwise physically active.

And if you’re still sweating it out, invest in a portable fan for those really sweltering days.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Brrr! If your college town is in a climate much cooler than what you’re accustomed to, get ready for the shock of your life. Some prep work is in order to be sure walking to and from class doesn’t result in freezing your buns off, or worse, frostbite. Just like the kids who are going to sunnier spots, you need to shop! Be sure to create a warmer wardrobe before the big move. Your cold-weather closet staples are as follows:

  • Winter coat (think: warm and waterproof)
  • Snow boots
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Heavy socks
  • Thermal underwear or leggings for layering
  • Sweaters
  • Knit scarves
  • Wool cap
  • Ear warmers
  • Gloves
  • Heavy pants of all kinds

The key to dressing in freezing temps is layering clothes. If it happens to be a warmer-than-usual day, you can shed a layer or two. On the flip side, if temperatures plummet, you can throw on an extra layer to hold in the body heat. Keep this concept in mind when shopping. Be sure your coat is big enough to go over a bulky sweater, for example.

And don’t forget:

  • Bring plenty of warm blankets, since you may not have control over your dorm thermostat.
  • Don’t let the weather get you down, or barricade you in. Bundle up and be social, or you’ll miss a season’s worth of outings.
  • Stock up on hot chocolate, coffee, tea and other warm beverages to help defrost you when you get back to your dorm.
  • Have cold medicine and tissues on hand, because few make it through the winter weather without ever feeling under it. (And wash your hands!)

Also read: 10 Commandments of College Girl Attire

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