How to Survive the Winter at UW-Madison

Winter is coming. You’ve heard Ned Stark from Game of Thrones warn you, and now, the cold weather really is on its way to terrorize the students of Madison. But don’t fear! There are ways to survive the winter months at UW without barricading yourself in your room.

Invest in some quality outerwear

I’m not saying you have to purchase a Canada Goose coat, but having some good-quality outerwear is necessary to survive a Madison winter. Hats, scarves, mittens, earmuffs, thick socks, snow boots – you’ll need it all. It may sound overwhelming, but you’ll thank me when you are literally walking through a blizzard.

Learn the bus schedule

Walking to class in the fall is a joy, but things change once winter comes around. What once was a pleasant stroll through campus is now a miserable trudge through mountains of snow and cold winds. Learning the bus schedule to get to class will save you some precious time and body heat.

Wash your hands

Winter season in college is synonymous with flu season. The cold weather makes it a lot easier for people to get sick, and in a dorm or residence hall disease can spread quickly. Make sure to wash your hands often and get enough sleep at night to help your immune system stay protected from the flu.


I’m not encouraging anyone to skip class, but do you really need to attend that optional discussion at 8 a.m.? Getting around campus is much more difficult and frankly brutal in the winter, so don’t feel bad if you take a couple days off.

Treat yourself to some hot drinks

While you may not usually indulge in an elaborate Starbucks order, now is your time. Treat yourself to a venti peppermint mocha every once and a while to beat the cold. It may be a small treat, but when you’re feeling down about the weather, it’s a warm little pick-me-up.

Don’t worry about fashion

If you even think about leaving your room in the winter without Ugg boots or an oversized sweatshirt, you’re out of your mind. In order to survive winter in Madison, you might have to make a compromise and save the cute Steve Madden booties for later. You’re walking on snow, not a runway.

Take advantage of the snow

Some may see snow as an obstacle, while others see it as an opportunity! Activities like ice skating and sledding can only be done in the winter, so now is the time to try something new. UW Madison even hosts an annual snowball fight on Bascom Hill. Game on.


The best part about the winter is the holiday season, so show a little spirit! Put up some twinkly lights, light a few candles, and add some cute winter decor to your living space. It’ll make coming in from the cold that much better.

Embrace the cold

You could stay inside every day and be miserable, or you can embrace the winter weather. You’re in a state that experiences all four seasons, so enjoy the one you’re in! I promise it will be spring in no time.

Whether you’ve lived in the Midwest your whole life or it’s your first time seeing snow, following these tips will help you have your best winter yet. Bundle up, stay warm, and have a great winter!


Allison Jensen

Hi, my name is Allison! I'm a sophomore studying journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When I'm not writing, you can find me with a coffee in hand binge-watching Game of Thrones.

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