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Survival Tips for the Newly Initiated

Southern-bred SAIC students talk about adapting to Chicago’s frigid winter.

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illustration by Alexandra Westrich

Survival Tips for the Newly Initiated

Southern-bred SAIC students talk about adapting to Chicago’s frigid winter.

Students hailing from warmer states and countries are piling it on to survive their first true winter experience in Chicago. Just like the natives, they find the key is layers. Lots of layers. Hot dogs and sneaky walking routes help, too. All in all, new students are adapting just fine to winter in Chicago. Erin Mitchell of Alabama says, “I’m going to make sure I have an ankle-length winter jacket, a lot of antibiotics, and my granny’s quilt.”

Andrea Gonzalez retreated to the North Face store and bought “whatever coat that will keep (her) warmest.” I’m not sure if the warmth of a coat can beat the climate of Venezuela for Gonzalez, but you never know. Cozy clothing is also on the mind of Hae-yoon Song: “I’m going to get some Under Armor”—added layers help insulate this California girl.

Georgian Rachel Bernstein, now in a layered format, says, “I put heating pads on my ankles even though the heating pads are meant for my cramps. I like my hot cocoa. Yeah, I like it. Oh yeah, and I wear two pairs of socks. But the thermal underwear I don’t wear because it rubs together on my thighs and that itches. That’s my life.”

Some SAIC students don’t just put their faith in warm clothing for a safe haven from the cold. “To get ready for winter, I’m going to Kristkindlmarkt every day,” says Marylander Sarah Goldman, “because I love German people, German people, German people. I love German people’s hot dogs inside of me, they keep me hot when it’s not.”

The Midwest chill is still something to consider even for the local folks. Alexandra Stillman says, “I come from Minnesota where the winters are much harsher… The winter here is better than what I’m used to. I don’t mind it.”

Jeremy Scott, a Wisconsin native, says, “I’ll sneak my way through a maze of stores in attempts to escape the cold. Sometimes between the dorms and the Columbus building, I stop at the Palmer House. Usually, I casually walk past the unsuspecting doorman into one of the lobby’s comfy chairs. It’s special.”

Jais Gossman does “the same as (I) did in Minnesota. (I) go around really quick and pay for it.” Allegedly, one of Jais’ tactics to escape the cold is climbing the stairs up to the nearest CTA stop to get closer to the heat lamps. The problem here is competing with the pigeons. Whatever surprises the Chicago winter might have in store for new SAIC students, at least these students are creative enough to resort to hot dogs and such. And isn’t that what really matters?

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