A Clueless Californian's Survival Guide To Ithaca's Winters

A Clueless Californian's Survival Guide To Ithaca's Winters

Don't get frostbite.

As a Californian Junior at Cornell, I only truly experienced winter for the first time in the fall of 2014 (according to the denizens of the East Coast, California doesn't have winters). There was snow on the ground almost everyday. The snow gave way to slush, which was ten times worse than the cold. I slipped on many patches of black ice and learned the hard way to wear boots whenever there was snow on the ground. Fortunately (or unfortunately), last winter failed to arrive. There was so little snow that Ithaca fell into a drought. But this year, winter is ramping up again, and I am reminded of how I, as a naive Californian, didn't know or immediately realize some very obvious things about snow and winter in general. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Don't step in the salt.

One of the first things my East Coast friends said to me when I was happily walking around with my new snow boots was not to step in the salt. I always wondered why. My (faulty) thinking was that if I stepped in the salt, wherever I stepped would melt faster and greatly improve my commuting experience. Instead, I just got salt all over my shoes, which was very annoying to clean. Whenever, I bring up my salt logic with my friends from the East Coast, they look at me in disbelief and wonder why I thought that stepping in salt is a good thing to do. And whenever I talk to my West Coast friends, they immediately understand what I mean and are amazed how East Coast people all think we're dumb for not knowing how to navigate salted pathways on snowy days.

2. Snow is not the only cold thing to fall out of the sky.

There is freezing rain, hail, a wonderful solid material that melts as soon as it hits you (aka Ithacation), and gradations of any of the above. Freezing rain will make everything slippery so walk carefully and don't take the steep Baker staircase. If it hails, I'm sorry. Get cover as soon as possible or it will be painful. My first cold weather experience was with Ithacation. I ended up using an umbrella to stop from getting soaked. (The same New York friend also had no qualms about pulling out an umbrella against the wet snow like substance falling out of the sky.) Additionally, whatever precipitation falls out of the sky eventually ends up as dirty, half-liquid slush that is as depressing as the lack of sun, to be honest.

3. Most of the landscaping dies (but not the grass).

This might just be a me thing but I think it's absurd that so many nice plants have to replanted in the spring (or after the spring for that matter. I really liked the Hosta plants next to the Big Red Barn). Also, does anybody remember the daffodils they planted (that one week in the spring where it got warm) that were buried by the snow? RIP daffodils. The frost took them too soon. And yet magically, the grass is resilient and survives the winter and snow cover. So as a Cornell student, be like the grass-- endure the semester and come back to life during the summer after exams.

4. Wear gloves before you need to wear gloves.

Once your hands are cold they take a long time to reheat. You can prevent frostbite by wearing your gloves before going outside. The same applies for wearing scarves, hats, and thick socks. Additionally, always have some gloves, a hat, and a scarf in your backpack in case you get caught unaware by the weather or are out at night. It can go below freezing, even in the spring so really make sure you're stocked with cold weather gear. At some point I just wore winter boots everyday, because if it wasn't snowing that day there would be slush everywhere (which is almost as bad). Also, always look at the windchill for the day when checking the weather.

5. It can snow in April.

Spring is a lie. January and February are the worst months of the year in terms of snow fall and windchill. Do not assume that spring break will be warm. You will be sad like I was when hit by reality, but don;t worry, it will get warmer in May. Thirty degrees Fahrenheit will seem like shorts weather after a true Ithaca winter.

Cover Image Credit: Slope Media

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Ways To Start Pre-Gaming Your Summer Plans Today

A few ways to help you prepare for summer.


Summer is coming sooner rather than later and we all need to get ready for it.

1. Start making trip plans now.


If you are wanting to do a getaway over the summer, I would suggest starting to plan for the trip now. The closer you get to the time in which you want to go, the higher the prices of plane tickets and rooms go up. Also planning ahead gives you the chance to pinpoint exactly how you want to spend your trip and not waste your time. Nothing is worse than going on a trip and being stuck at the hotel the whole time because you have no idea what is our there for you to do.

2. Buy sunscreen.

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Do you really want to end up like her? I don't think so. Even if you are the type of person with the mentality that you will only be out in the sun for a short period of time, it doesn't matter. We all need sunscreen. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and we need to take care of it. Think of it this way, do you want to have sunspots when you're old? Or would you rather maintain your youthful appearance for as long as you can?

3. Find a new hobby.


Let's be honest here for a minute, the majority of us do absolutely nothing over summer break and feel no guilt for it. I have done this several times over the years, and I now look back and realize all the time I wasted not learning or doing something new. If you are working full-time, have summer school, or a summer internship this does not apply to you unless you have the time to do so.

For the rest of y'all, get up and learn something. Learn how to knit. Take a kickboxing class. Try out new hiking places. Start learning another language, or continue practicing the one you learned in school at places where the language is commonly used. Get outside of your comfort zone!

4. De-stress and dispose.

You are so close to summer sometimes it stresses you out trying to get everything done. You need to realize that summer isn't going anywhere and you will get there eventually. Take a deep breathe and keep going. What I like to do is start throwing out the paperwork from this semester that I know I will never use again, don't want, and papers that I don't plan on using for the upcoming final. Disposing of those papers helps me visualize that the semester is almost over.

5. Buy a new swimsuit.


Before you go out and buy a bunch of new swimsuits, try your old ones on first and see if they fit. Sometimes you just need a new top to match the bottoms that you already have or vice versa. Also, if you know that you are not going to buy a swimsuit for the pool or beach several times throughout the summer, don't waste your money on a new swimsuit. The one from last year that you never wore will do just fine.

Save Money

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The simplest way to understand it is no saving = no money to spend during summer. If you have all kinds of different trips and things you want to do that cost a fee, it would be wise to start saving up for all of your other expenses that you would normally have to pay per month like insurance, phone, or a car payment. I will be in the car payment category since I just bought a new one a few weeks ago.

That being said, my first car payment is due the week I am in New York. I don't want my New York money to be used for a car payment, so I've been taking extra shifts at work to compensate. I have also started going through my closet and selling the items I don't want anymore. There are several resale stores and places online for you to sell your unwanted clothes and other items to put some extra cash in your pocket.

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