Brandeis International Business School

10 tips to prepare for a New England winter

It’s winter in New England once again!

snow falling on Brandeis University campus


It’s that time of year again.

Trees are bare. It gets dark at 4:30 p.m. And it’s cold — very cold. Winter is here and you may be shocked if this is your first time experiencing this season in New England.

As you probably know by now, winters in the Boston area are notoriously harsh. For most natives of this great city, the snow, ice and wind are just typical winter occurrences. But for non-residents and foreign students, especially those from tropical climates, the season can be daunting. 

Although we can’t stop Mother Nature from doing her thing, you can make the season more bearable by being prepared. Here are 10 tips to help you make it through a Boston winter with all your appendages intact.

1. Invest in a good jacket: Preferably one that’s warm, waterproof and windproof. Enough said.

2. Layer up: One of the most important — if not the most important — ways to keep warm is to wear layers. This means jackets on sweaters on shirts on undershirts. It’s better to be too warm and remove a layer than to be too cold and have nothing to put on.

child being bundled up with long scarf


3. Wear boots: There are a variety of recommended boots for New England weather based on style, comfort and other preferences. You do, however, want to purchase insulated, waterproof boots with grip to keep your feet warm, dry and firmly on the ground when it gets icy.

4. Accessorize: Most people focus on winter coats and boots (which are important) but miss out on important accessories like scarves, head warmers and quality gloves. Remember, you need those appendages after winter.

5. Expect longer commutes and delays: Due to how unexpected the weather can be, it's advisable to leave earlier than expected to get to class or work. This is especially important for drivers.

Which is a good segway to the tips below for car owners (non-drivers may skip to No. 9)

6. Check your tires and brakes: Sometimes, it seems like cars wait for winter to make life more difficult. Good brakes and tires are very important for safely driving through snow and ice, especially if you're not used to the narrow streets of Greater Boston or suburban Waltham.

a car driving recklessly in the snow


7. Don't skip the maintenance: Although this might be tempting to ignore, rough winters require you to take better care of your vehicle. The last thing you need is a stalling engine during midterms or job interviews.

8. Keep a survival kit: Again, unexpected things happen during winter — especially with cars. You may find yourself stuck in an area with no cell reception (yes, this still happens, albeit rarely) or a dead cell phone (much more likely). A flashlight (torch, for my friends from outside the U.S.), blanket, bottle of water, jumper cables and portable phone battery and charger are some of the essentials.

9. Try to remain active: There are many reasons to hibernate during the season (especially when the apartment temperature is just right). But it’s good to remain active by heading out once in a while. There are a lot of winter activities in Boston that can be quite fun! Unless there’s a snowstorm … if that’s the case, forget everything I said, crank up that space heater and live your best life. On the other hand, snowmen don’t make themselves!

a winter to spring colorful text


10. Keep your chin up: Similar to the point above, it’s important to remain positive throughout this season. Enjoy the holiday spirit, find a source of good hot chocolate and pursue things that make you happy. If you’re having a difficult time, you can always reach out to the Brandeis Counseling Center, a family member or a close friend. And remember, spring is right around the corner. So at the very least, you can dream of piña coladas on a tropical beach to take your mind off of what’s happening outside your window!

That’s all for now folks. Stay warm! 

Student Insights features blog posts and videos produced by current students and recent graduates of Brandeis International Business School. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here belong solely to the author.

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