If you aren’t from the Midwest, then you might not be used to Indiana’s unpredictable weather. Sometimes it is blistering hot, then 40 degrees the next day, or 70 degrees and sunny but snowing in 24 hours. If you’re in Bloomington, you need to be prepared for any type of weather. Here’s a breakdown of what you may need clothing-wise and when to bring it to campus.
Bring your regular summer clothes: shorts, t-shirts, and other light clothing. You’ll be sweating through this stuff, so pack a sufficient amount of clothing that you won’t need to do laundry every couple of days. It may even be smart to pack an extra t-shirt in your bag in case you feel like you need to change during the day. Many students wear sandals like Chaco or Birkenstock around campus during this time. Chacos are a great choice for foot support when walking around all day every day, and Birks are nice for maximizing comfort.
The mornings and evenings may start getting chilly around the end of September, so packing a few light jackets would be smart. Fall break is a transitional period; bring your heavier clothing like sweaters and long pants. After thanksgiving break, you should have your scarves, hats, gloves, boots and sturdier shoes, and winter coat with you in Bloomington.
Walking to class in the snow or freezing temperatures isn’t very fun. Bundle up with warm socks or boots and accessories to shield exposed skin. You are going to want some sturdy boots that keep your feet warm and dry. They should also have good traction because slipping on icy sidewalks before they’ve been salted is inevitable. Also, don’t be that one person who thinks a sweatshirt is enough to brave the cold. If you can afford it, bring a warm winter coat with you. Many people on campus use parkas that fall mid-thigh or lower; these help shield the body from the wind and chilly temperatures.
It’s difficult to say when warmer weather will return; it may happen in February or it may come and go sporadically until May. Who knows? You need to be prepared for anything, so layering an outfit is the best idea. You’ll still want warm clothes, but you could also bring a couple lighter pieces back with you from winter break for that random day in February when it’s warm and sunny. You could switch out the majority of your winter clothes for your summer apparel during spring break. Don’t pack away everything, though! Chances are there will still be a couple cold days even after spring starts. Once April and May come around, it will be back to the warm treks across campus. The mornings and evenings will still be chilly, so bring out those jackets again. Flannels, 3-quarter length zips, or sweatshirts are also nice. Like I said before, layering is key!
Pieces to Have All Year Long
Bring an umbrella, rain coat, and rain boots. If you do not have these, make the investment. Torrential downpours can and will occur without much warning. Carry a sturdy umbrella in your backpack for those times when the rain starts on your way to class. Rain boots are also important; puddles develop fast over sunken parts of sidewalks and there is no convenient way to avoid them. The only bad thing about rain boots is that they can sometimes get uncomfortable if you’re walking in them for more than a few hours. To make them worth wearing, I’d reserve them for those days when the forecast calls for rain the whole day. You could also purchase a pair of waterproof ankle boots for more comfort and practicality, just less coverage. In my opinion, rain coats are the most important piece of protection against the rain and wind. I have one that folds into a portable size so I can easily slip it into my backpack. These are really nice for the unexpected storms that strike while you’re out and about, or you could invest in something a little more structured to keep you warmer and more protected.
Another necessary investment is a pair of gym shoes or sneakers. Walking is the main mode of transportation,so what you put on your feet matters. Go to a store that specializes in walking or running shoes, or a sports outlet. Find a pair that fits right and doesn’t chafe or make your feet uncomfortable. They may be more expensive, but minimizing foot or back problems in the future makes the cost worth it. These essential pieces will be used throughout the academic year, so don't forget them at home.
Hopefully this breakdown of suggested apparel gives you a better sense of what to bring to campus and when to do it. The weather may be unpredictable, but no matter how much it fluctuates throughout the day, campus is still just as beautiful.
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