All too often when Midwestern winters are mentioned, a slew of profanities are soon to follow. They say the heat brings out the worst in people but if that’s the case then the winter brings out the ridiculousness in them. While there are undoubtedly many different reactions to the most hellish quarter of a Midwestern year, in my experience there are generally three stages to dealing with the winter. First unaware, then incapable, and finally badass. These stages are not universal and they may not always happen in order, but everyone at one point or another will experience one of them.

Firstly, my favorite, the unaware stage. In this category are your students from California, the Deep South, or some part of the country where their winters are comparable to a mild Midwestern fall. These students have no experience whatsoever with winter and enjoy it at first, but learn to regret their school choice later. For example, my roommate freshman year was from California and the first time he saw it snow, he was ecstatic. He was barely dressed and ran outside to bathe himself in the mother nature’s bitterly cold blanket. However, like most unaware students, he was not ready for the unforgiving slew of hail, rain, and wind that would soon follow us throughout the winter. He transferred schools a year later.

This is the what Fall at UIUC should look like:

uiuc quad


The story that those welcoming, haiku-worthy pictures fail to tell is that those bronze-colored leaves have an even shorter lifespan than home team cheering at a football game. These disconnected realities lead us into the incapable phase in which the lack of degrees renders you incapable of doing anything that involves the dreaded outdoors.

Some common signs of incapability include:

  • Unwillingness to leave the dorm room
  • Increased Netflix usage
  • Lack of exercise
  • Less caring about appearance
  • Increased communication with that one friend with a car

Following the incapable is the badass stage. The badass stage is characterized by those guys that wear shorts when we are expecting 5 inches. We both know who those guys are. They go to the gym before they check the weather of the day every morning. They wake up for ROTC and are in the frigid air for hours before most of us have our coffee. This stage is generally composed of those with nerves and balls of steel (women included). We are not all lucky enough to reach this stage but we can learn to adapt to the weather as much as possible.

Follow our blog and next time we will highlight a few ways you can survive the inevitable onslaught of Winter.  In particular, we will look at two things: (1) what does this mean for your bike and (2) how can you take advantage of Autumn and Winter in Champaign-Urbana?

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