Student Post: Surviving the Polar Vortex


Spring is coming.

by Cory L. ’16

I may be from Colorado, but I am not good at enduring the cold. When people ask me which I preferred, snow-skiing or snowboarding, I always responded with “neither.” The follow-up, time and time again, was a question of why. I always responded with “Why would I ever be cold on purpose?”

So you can imagine how hard it has been to adjust to this Boston cold. And what a cold it is. Temps are far below anything I am used to, and the humidity in the air does not help. (The last city I lived in, Denver, lacked humidity and, by comparison, cold.) But I have quickly learned to adjust, adapt, and raise my natural body temperature a few degrees short of a fever every time I go outside.

The key to staying warm in this interminable polar vortex of cold is layers – long underwear, pants and sweater, topped by a cozy water-proof jacket and cemented with durable boots. I’m not one to talk at length about clothes, but I was also not one who really understand the power of a good thermal until now. Seriously, staying warm makes all of the difference. It’s a lot easier to avoid colds and flu by staying warm too, particularly when you are exposed to a variety of germs by the sheer amount of interaction you have with others as a law student on a daily basis.

But this isn’t a post about the cold. It’s about what to do to endure it like I have. Thus, I have put together a list of tips and tricks to make even the most warm-blooded law student ready for the cold.

Pro tip No. 1: Invest in a good winter coat. You’ll want one that has a water-proof shell, a hood, and even those air vents that you can unzip so that you don’t end up sweating through your clothes underneath before you get to class. (Remember when I mentioned the Boston humidity? Yeah. It’s that real. Your face may be freezing as you walk outside, but because of all your layers of clothing and the humidity, there is a very real possibility that you will have sweat stains on your clothes when you remove your coat. Not ideal.)

Pro tip No. 2: Buy a winter hat. You’re in law school to learn and to expand your mind, so protect that growing brain of yours with a fuzzy hat that covers both your forehead and ears. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to find one that covers the sides of your face – a la this one.

Pro tip No. 3: You absolutely must have gloves. Carrying all of those casebooks isn’t easy. Throw in some single-digit temperatures to the mix, and your Contracts casebook suddenly feels as burdensome as carrying the stone tablets that contained the Ten Commandments. If you want to keep your hand warm and usable, buy some gloves. (Pro tip No 3.5: the gloves that now have the special material on the fingertips are really useful for using your iPhone or other smart phone while standing in the cold waiting for the T or the bus to arrive.)

Pro tip No. 4: Don’t let the weather or the workload get you down. If you’re feeling particularly gloomy, and you can’t trace it back to a depressing Torts case, you may have seasonal affective disorder. (Note: I am not a doctor, nor a medical student. But I know how navigate the WebMD website.) Consider buying a Vitamin C supplement. The boost of Vitamin C will help you maintain a sunny disposition, even if the sun doesn’t actually come out that day. Plus, it will help your body fight off sickness.

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