I want you to envision something for a second. Bear with me on this one but, I think for most of you, this won’t be too hard to picture. In fact, it may look all too familiar. It’s a Saturday night in January and your friends want to go to the rush parties that are taking place at frats scattered across campus. Sounds painless right?
I forgot to mention that it’s 20 degrees outside and it’s beginning to snow. You’re then faced with a comically hard decision to make: to wear or not to wear something warm? Not like a cute cropped sweater that barely constitutes as a warm article of clothing, like a legitimate winter coat. I’ve fallen victim to this fatal mistake countless of times. The party is only two blocks away if I just speed-walk I can get away with wearing a crop top and jeans. Right? Sorry to crash the party, but you certainly can’t.
The anti-coat epidemic has been sweeping through the campus of the University of Illinois ever since the temperature started to dip below 30 degrees. A night does not go by where I don’t see a group of girls scurrying into Kam’s, Red Lion, or where ever their night is taking them wearing an outfit that would be more appropriate for a party during first semester syllabus week in Florida. Even for college culture, this trend is by far one of the most abnormal, and dare I say stupid.
Students, primarily young women, are willing to brave the harsh Midwest winter in nothing but a crop top and risk getting a cold, the flu, and even frostbite. I know I sound a tad dramatic when I say frostbite but believe it or not, I know of instances pertaining to unlucky, slightly intoxicated, individuals that have gotten frostbite while walking to a frat this year. The “beer blanket” is a real thing, people.
So, is going to McKinley asking for a cold pack or having to explain to a judgmental nurse the reason why you lost feeling in your index finger worth a couple of hours of you showing off last summer’s apparel? Many would argue yes, in conjunction with the age-old saying that beauty is pain.
Who doesn’t want to look their best when they go out on the weekend? But why does that have to mean ditching the North Face at home? Now, I do understand that no one wants to babysit a parka all night (how on earth are you supposed to dance?), but there are some pretty reasonable compromises that will make you and your worried mother happy. For starters, wear a jean or leather jacket. It’s not ideal mode of warmth but it’s better than nothing. Plus, a good leather jacket can look absolutely bad-ass.
Also, if you have the opportunity not to walk, take it. Don’t make the trek all the way to the bars on Green St. or to one of the frats in Urbana on foot. You’re basically making your audition tape for Life Below Zero. Instead, take the bus or share an Uber with your friends. It’s faster and definitely warmer.
While it feels at times like we go to school in the tundra, it does not mean that we can blatantly ignore the weather when it comes to going out. Knowing Illinois, it’s going to be cold for at least another month so embrace it. Your immune system and your mother will both thank you.