I have lived in Western New York my whole life, and I think it is absolutely beautiful here. There is so much to do, and the outdoors are full of places to explore and fall in love with. However, not everyone feels the same way! Our seasons can be a little rough if you’re not used to having up to 6 months of wintery weather. However, if you’re prepared and willing to stay positive, the seasons can provide an awesome time of wonder and fun for your time here.
Here are my tips for not only surviving the different seasons, but thriving during them:
It will only be summer for about a month while you’re in Houghton. It will be very hot, and if you’re in the dorms make sure you have a fan—the academic buildings have air conditioning, but the dorms don’t!
Summer is one of the best times to go out and explore the different parks and outdoor activities around us. There’s even cool waterfalls and rivers you can go swimming in. Or, if you’d rather stay on campus, Houghton will have a bunch of picnic tables around the quad where you can chill or do homework. There are a lot of outdoor activities available and trails to explore. Make sure you bring sunscreen and loose-fitting clothes to school. It may be cold here a lot, but the summer makes for an unexpected change of pace!
Fall is absolutely gorgeous here. It pops with color, beauty, and so many fun things to do. Nothing can compete with the Western New York countryside in autumn! Again, the temperature will vary a lot: it can be very hot or unusually cold to the point of snow. As you enjoy the crunch of freshly fallen leaves under your feet and head toward your next adventure, make sure you’ve brought a sweatshirt or jacket. The daytime may be warm, but as night comes around, it will get cold. It can also get pretty rainy sometimes, so keep your umbrella and rain boots handy.
Hopefully winter is something you love (or will come to love) if you come to school at Houghton, because there will be a lot of it! Sometimes it takes a while until it gets here, but when it does, be prepared with as much winter gear as you can. The most prepared you can be is having a winter jacket, boots, gloves, hat, and scarf. We almost never have snow days here, so you will have to walk to class in the middle of some blizzard-type weather. It can be fun though!
If you plan on bringing a car to campus, make sure your car is ready to handle the weather. Keep your gas tank above ½ full so that your lines will keep from freezing, invest in some winter tires if you plan on travelling a lot, and keep some food, water, and cold weather gear in your car in case of an emergency. Travelling during the winter means a lot slower travel time, possible cancellations in travel, and even danger if not handled properly. But if handled the correct way, it can be a lot of fun, and very beautiful!
One thing to keep in mind!
During the winter, seasonal depression can be a real problem for a lot of people. The sun hides a lot, meaning we get less Vitamin D. To help combat this and keep your mind and emotions on track, you could make sure you have a Vitamin D supplement, get outside and exercise even if it’s cold, and make use of the counseling center—which doesn’t only offer counseling, but also light treatment for seasonal affective disorder.
Houghton offers some ways to stay excited and occupied during the winter. There’s lots of indoor activities that are available, and our Campus Activities Board always has something fun planned for us. If you want to get outside, there are skis, snowshoes, and sleds available for students to use. Winter definitely does not mean boring here!
During the spring, it can get very wet. The most important thing you can do is bring some type of waterproof shoes, jacket, and at the very least an umbrella. There will be mud everywhere, so make sure you have shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Of course, springtime here ranges everywhere from 20 degrees and blizzarding to 60 degrees and having class outside. So be prepared for a range of different weather and temperatures for the last couple months of the spring semester. Be prepared for some absolutely stunning flowers and budding trees at this time too! Our maintenance crew does a fantastic job at making our campus look extra colorful.
The most important thing to remember about the seasons in Western New York is to be prepared for anything. It will be 30 degrees and snowing one day and 63 degrees and humid the next—literally. But the best thing is that the weather keeps us always on the lookout for something new and fun. We can play frisbee on the quad for a few months, and then build snowmen and create snow-angels for another few months. As long as you are prepared and excited, the changing seasons can be another great part of attending school at Houghton College.
Mikalah is an English and communication major at Houghton College, and a member of the Class of 2020.