December 21 marks the first official day of winter, but U of T students are already facing the wrath of cold winds, piles of snow, and longer commutes. Winter truly tests my tolerance level, but I have a few strategies to survive the cold.
Avoid the outdoors as much as possible
As much as I like the outdoors, I do not enjoy walking around campus in the winter. This is why I take advantage of staying indoors as much as possible. I discovered that there’s actually a lot of shortcuts and alternative pathways to get to my classes.
Lots of buildings actually connect, so I go from building to building to get to my next class in order to minimize my time spent outdoors as much as possible. Although this might involve a bit of a detour, it is still way better than walking outside in the freezing cold to get to my class that’s on the other side of the campus.
Thankfully, all my classes are very close to each other, so during my breaks, I tend to stay in the same building my lectures are in, or in nearby buildings so I don’t need to go outside.
If you’ve been reading my blog posts, you would know that I’m a commuter. Let me just say that commuting is an absolute mess in the winter. What would normally be a 1-hour commute turns into 1.5-2 hours… and this doesn’t just apply to rush hours.
What’s even worse than a delayed GO train is a cancelled GO train. It’s super frustrating but these kinds of events are inevitable. Thankfully, none of my morning trains have been cancelled before (knock on wood!), but I have had an evening train get cancelled last winter during a big snowstorm. If I suspect that my train could get cancelled due to the weather, I always arrange an alternative ride.
Planning ahead for transportation doesn’t just apply to my commute. In the winter, everything takes longer. Even walking takes longer because all the students are trying to avoid slipping. I try to avoid the frustration of being late for a class by leaving earlier. If I have an exam, I take the earlier train, even if it means arriving way earlier (because arriving 2 hours earlier is better than being late for an exam!).
Layers, layers, layers! It’s so important for me to layer in the winter. Not only does it keep me extremely warm when I’m outside, but when I’m indoors, I can take off some of my outer layers so I don’t feel too muggy. The usual winter essentials, like scarves, mittens, and hats are a must for me too.
I also find it really useful to bring a hot drink in my thermos to my classes, since it helps keep my drinks extra warm throughout the day.
Winter is coming, stay warm everyone!