Battling the elements has been a pastime of the Midwest for as long as we can remember. Whether it’s a forecasted foot of snow or a pop-up thunderstorm, Wisconsin weather is a beast of its own. That being said, here are some tips to surviving extreme weather on campus! 

Expect Anything and Everything

         Wisconsin is notorious for having unpredictable weather. There is a common joke about Wisconsin that it is possible to experience all four seasons in the same day. With that in mind, here are some tricks to combat the randomness of Wisconsin’s weather. 

  • Always check the weather before leaving for classes, clubs, and athletic events.

Checking the night before your 8am isn’t always enough. Especially in this area, it is important to check the weather, specifically the radar, as pop-up weather systems and drops in temperature are not uncommon. 

  • Have an umbrella with you at all times!

I’m a junior, and I cannot even count how many times I have been caught in the rain without an umbrella. Now if you only have one class that day, it isn’t a big deal- chances are low that you’ll be caught needing one. However, if you have three classes and a campus job, it’ll be nine hours before you’ll be back home- then carrying an umbrella is probably a good idea. 

  • Keep a hat and glove in your backpack.

This is especially important during the winter months. If you have afternoon classes, there is a pretty good chance that the sun will be down by the time you have to walk home/to your car from class. Temperatures fluctuate more in the winter than any other season and when they hit subzero, you’re going to want a hat and gloves. Frost bite acts fast, protect those ears and fingers!

Invest in the right protection

         This can be difficult in college but, a trick to surviving extreme weather on campus is to be prepared with the right gear. Whether that be an umbrella, waterproof rain jacket, or a thermal winter coat. The right gear can be the key to making it to class safe and sound.


Sure, they might be cute, or they go with your outfit, but wearing a hoodie to class in an -8° windchill does not make you look cool. Be smart, put on the heavy coat. You may not look as cool as the kid in the Adidas hoodie, but his nose is running and yours isn’t. 

  • Get a pair of waterproof rain boots. 

You don’t have to worry about wrecking your new pair of Nike’s come spring time if you have a nice pair of rainboots. There are plenty of low spots on campus that don’t drain well during rain showers and most students would agree that sitting in class with wet socks is just the worst. 

  • Find a nice waterproof jacket or umbrella.

This comes down to a matter of convivence. If lugging around an umbrella all day isn’t your thing, find a nice water-resistant rain jacket. When getting a rain jacket always buy bigger than your size. This allows you to wear the Adidas hoodie under your jacket without getting it wet. 

Brands that incorporate material like Gore-Tex are key because you want a product that will make the water bead up and run off instead of soaking into the jacket. But if it doesn’t matter to you, an umbrella can work just as well. 

Living in Wisconsin is a constant battle with the weather and being in college causes you to be outside more than the average person. With the right gear and preparation, outlasting the Wisconsin elements is easier than you think.