Winter is coming, my friends. Living in the beautiful Mississippi river valley means enduring some frigid weather.


A student bundling up for the winter months.

Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21

Even if this isn’t your first rodeo with Midwest winter weather, being on your own at college means preparing yourself to survive. You’ve heard of “beat the heat,” well this is Minnesota, so we’re going to “hold the cold.”

Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of tips in order to keep warm.

1. Get All of the Blankets

Heating bills can get expensive. An easy way to cut costs is to dress warm while inside so you don’t have to crank up the thermostat.

Quilts, blankets, flannel sheets, socks, sweatpants and sweaters are all good options to keep your college home cozy. A mug of hot chocolate never hurt either.



2. Bundle Up

Unfortunately, humans are not like bears, we must remain awake and venture into the outside world even during a blizzard. Dress accordingly.

The places that release the most heat are your head and your feet. The abdominal or stomach area is also like the furnace of your body—keep all these areas insulated so the heat produced is contained.

As far as risk areas go, cover places with little blood flow. Your hands, feet, ears and nose are the most likely to suffer injury from prolonged exposure to the cold. Get yourself a sturdy pair of mittens and a nice scarf.



3. Insulate Your Space

My mom is a very frugal woman and her winter tip is insulating windows with cling-wrap. This cheap and easy DIY tip will keep drafty windows from sucking the heat out of your home.

Bubble wrap is a popular option for insulating your room, home or apartment. I found a list of other possible materials you can use and an instructional video for insulating with cling-wrap.



4. Prep Your Vehicle

If you drive to work or campus, the most annoying part of winter is waiting for your windows to defrost and for your car to stop being an ice-box. Your best bet is getting up a little earlier to scrape, defrost and wipe snow off of your windows. It’s important to be safe on the roads; poor visibility could result in accidents.

The defrosting process can take a bit of time so you might find yourself running a little late. Ain’t nobody got time for that — there’s a simple spray to help clear up windshields from frost provided by Allstate.



5. Keep Your Driveway and Sidewalks Safe

The city of Winona and WSU keep their roads, sidewalks and parking lots plowed and salted. If you live off-campus, your driveway and sidewalk in front of your building may be your responsibility. Check your lease or talk to your landlord to see who is responsible for snow removal.

If it’s you, throw that salt on everything. Around your car, on the porch, especially on the front steps, and on the sidewalk too. I suggest salting before shoveling so you don’t slip around.

Alternate side parking starts on November 15—keeping a shovel in your trunk may be helpful if you have to dig your car out of the plow-line.


Adapt, Overcome, Survive

Armed with these tips and sheer determination, I’m confident you’ll make it through the winter. On the bright side, we are living in a modern time with advanced heating technology—a long way from peasants who feared the loss of their crops and livelihood every year.

Remember, the snow is more scared of you than you are of it. Don’t let it see your fear.

This list will always be here for you to reference. You got this.