Winter and I have never been the best of friends. When you’re such a clumsy and silly person as me, winter makes life SO much more of a struggle. I’m talking about flashing your undies after the thrill of unexpected gale force winds the one day you brave a skirt (you’re welcome Monash). Or making an effort by straightening your hair only to wind up looking like a drowned cat after getting caught in a downpour (how am I still single?). There are so many extra things to remember like umbrellas and raincoats, and when you frequently can’t remember your keys or what day it is, it can very easily become all too much.
But never fear! By following these tips and tricks we WILL get through the craziness of winter (and early spring), on a uni budget of course – meaning we can save our hard-earned dosh for summer (read: ice cream)!
If you’re a normal human, you probably prefer to spend winter inside (I on the other hand like being outdoors all the time…. long story, I’ll save it for my therapist). This is the best motivating factor to actually rock up to uni – FREE HEATING! Just to clarify, you don’t have to go to your lectures (you probably should though, especially if “P’s get degrees” is not your life motto). Hang out in the libraries, meet friends at campus centre, get cozy on the couches at Wholefoods, or chill at the Student Union Recreational Library. This is a biggie if you’re renting, heating is expensive and you should make the most of that amenities fee you’ve deferred.
On the weekends hit up your local shopping centre. Another brilliant source of free heating. Word of warning, the people in charge of the controls are crazy, and like to make the climate similar to that of Hawaii – so make sure you layer up and ditch the Duck Down.
My favourite tip (which of course does not just apply to beating the cold): CUDDLE ANIMALS! I find dogs are best the snuggle buddies – they put up with way more human ridiculousness than cats. They are literally portable heat pillows! With the perfect mix of fur and fluff for comfort and a cheeky few licks every now and again, doggos make winter bearable. Take them with you everywhere – they could easily pass for a scarf. I promise I’m not dog crazy (I am) but I’m all in favour of more dogs at uni – so bring them in and blame me when your lecturer gets angry. No animals at home, not a problem – befriend dog owners and invite yourself over (I’ll come too), armed with plenty of Shmackos of course.
Hands down the best part of winter. Since the body is using more energy to stay warm, we have to eat more (it’s scientifically proven I’m sure).
For an easy fix, go for soup. Tins can be as low as $2, fill you up, and these days come in plenty of exotic flavours good enough for MasterChef. Try Cup a Soups for a snack. Even better, make up a big batch and freeze portions. Stews and curries work well too. They’re cheap, quick and easy, and the perfect lunch or dinner. Use the campus microwaves and heat leftovers to save you buying.
There are plenty of delicious and cheap meal options. Try two-minute noodles (and unlike me have the patience to heat them and not eat them raw), instant rice and beans, or be fancy and go for packet quinoa. Heck uni is hard, be devilish and whip out a microwavable chocolate cake.
For catch-ups, head to Wholefoods for cheap soup and everyone’s favourite the $3 dahl and rice.
Hot drinks are also a winner and instant warmer. There are boiling water taps in most buildings so bring a keep cup and a tea bag and you’re set. Thermoses are a great option too. Make up an extra coffee or hot choccy in the morning and save the queues and the environment.
Layers! Layers! Layers! Who cares if you look like the Michelin Man, do not underestimate the chill factor! Side point, guys, how do you wear shorts in winter?! Just looking at your poor legs makes me cold…
Anyhow, the best secret tip is skivvies. Not just for the Wiggles (and no, wearing one does not give you permission to relive the dance moves apparently), they are lightweight and help take the edge off. Same goes for flannelette shirts. Beanies and gloves are absolute essentials. Go for fingerless gloves to add a bit of bad-ass to your day. And last but not least, go op shopping! There are so many snuggly jumpers and coats just waiting to keep you warm.
I wish I had all the answers. Unfortunately, the struggles of getting out of bed, moving, and epic ninja twists to avoid splutters and sneezes seem unavoidable.
Hang in there guys, summer is-a-coming I promise. In the meantime, the other great way to keep warm is demanding hugs. I’d start with your friends. Strangers are a bit wary sometimes. Especially if you’ve donned the beanie and fingerless gloves…