Surviving Winter in Columbus

Every year, around mid-October, the anxiety starts growing among my MHRM comrades. I get it—the Midwest can be an intimidating place during the winter, especially if you’re from more temperate environments like some of my more southern classmates. After all, we are just a 6-hour drive from Chicago, or as we fondly refer to it here in the Midwest, “Chiberia.”

All joking aside, winter in Columbus is really not that bad. From December to February, typical lows are in the high teens and highs are in the mid-40s (Fahrenheit). It does get windy, and we experience a fair amount of precipitation in the form of snow. It actually can be quite beautiful on sunny days.

This is an old picture of Mirror Lake in the winter. It’s currently under construction. When done, the site will look more like it did when it was built in 1870.  

I’m personally grateful to experience all four seasons. When I lived in Oregon, we had a long summer and a long winter, and almost no shoulder seasons on either end. And I really didn’t realize how much I loved fall and spring.

Believe it or not, though, people do live in Columbus year round. And they do so successfully with a curated wardrobe of very warm and sensible items. Here are my winter non-negotiables:

It’s pretty much a wearable sleeping bag.
  1. Long, down parka. This is the coat I wear all winter long. It even functions as a blanket in my house when I’m trying to warm up quickly. Down is one of the best natural insulators, and it cuts wind like no other. Wool is also a good option.

 

No furry animals were killed in the making of this hat.

2. This hat. It covers your ears and is as soft as fake fur on the inside. It is also filled with down so you don’t have to worry about your noggin getting cold–all of your knowledge will be warm and protected.

Bonus: you might be confused for a fisherman while wearing these puppies.

3. You’ll see a lot of these around campus. They’re waterproof, and if you want the upgraded version, you can get them with faux fur on the inside (pictured above, highly recommend). I wear boots like these walking across campus, and change into my work shoes when I get to Gerlach Hall. There’s really no substitute for a sensible winter boot.

Investing in high-quality, durable outdoor clothing is completely worth it. The last thing I want to worry about in the midst of school and work is my comfort. And I promise–it is possible to stay warm all winter with a little time and preparation on the front end.