By Sarah Bransley
Students attend U of I from all over the world and many have never experienced a climate like we have here in Illinois. From 90 degree summers to below zero degree winters, it’s hard to know what to pack when you’re coming to live here. Luckily, I’ve lived in Illinois all my life so I can help a bit with knowing what’s useful and what to leave at home.
For Spring Semester you’ll definitely need some warm clothes. The weather will go from freezing to warm so the big idea is LAYERS. Leggings, tights, tank tops, short sleeves, long sleeves, shorts, sweaters, pants, etc. Everything is about layers because when you’re walking between classes you’ll want all those layers on but as soon as you get inside a packed lecture hall you want to be able to take everything off!
As I’ve perused social media websites I’ve seen many students asking questions about what sort of winter gear is useful. You do not, I repeat, you do not need snow shoes. Unless you want to do cross country walking recreationally. A good pair of water-proof boots should do you just fine with some nice wool socks to keep your feet warm. Make sure you have gloves (waterproof if you plan on throwing snowballs), a big scarf to cover your neck AND face, and a hat that goes over your ears. Finally, your jacket should be waterproof and either be rated for cold weather (generally zero or below) or contain a warm material like down.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive items to get good, sturdy things that will keep you warm. Most of these things can be purchased in or around town. Macy’s, Kohls, and Target are examples of chain stores that have these items and Champaign Surplus has unique and amazing items if you want to shop locally!
Basically, pack smart and make sure you have a little bit of everything so you can tackle anything our weather will throw at you. As a native Illinoisian, I can tell you that you will most likely need all those layers in January and still be dying in a tank top and shorts come May.