As we reach the end of a long and strenuous semester, a brutal winter is steadily making its way to Montreal. The hints of snow and dips in temperature from these past few weeks only represent a mere glimpse of what is to come. As of January, expect a winter season filled with plenty of snow, rain, and mush, as well as record-breaking cold temperatures. Here are some ways winter will change your student lives on or off campus and how to adapt to this icy transition. So buckle up, it’s going to be a snowy ride. Winter is coming.
Montreal winters are synonymous with extreme below-freezing temperatures, sometimes dropping below -30°C (86°F). It’s time to store away your light fall jackets and bring out the big guns: A proper winter coat is a must! Pair it with gloves, a cozy hat to keep your head warm, a scarf to protect your neck from icy winds, and insulated winter boots for a slip-free walk on icy sidewalks. Layers will be your best friend as you can always peel them off when you get warm inside––even those drenched in sweat.
Watch out, getting to McGill will take longer!
Winter here also means snow-covered streets and more traffic. So, along with the additional time required to bundle up and slip on your winter gear at home, there will also be a couple of extra minutes added to your commute time. Keep warm and take advantage of the bus and metro system: McGill station, on the metro’s green line, is embedded in Montreal’s renowned underground city. This interconnected network of underground tunnels, while giving access to the metro stations, also houses shops, malls, offices, and entertainment venues, allowing you to walk through Montreal without having to step a foot outside. From the Quartier des Spectacles to the Eaton Centre, passing through Place d’Armes and Bonaventure, this system allows you to get from place to place while avoiding the brutal wintry winds.
Shifting from outdoors to indoors
It can be tempting to hide out in bed when there’s snow on the ground, but keep in mind the myriad of opportunities found on campus to bring the energetic thrill of the outdoors inside. Some of these activities, including ice skating on the lower field rink, will keep you in shape and elevate your mood over the winter. Moving your athletic routines inside for the winter months can be helpful to find consistency, keep the blood pumping, and focus on something other than your mounting pile of coursework. The McGill Fitness Centre offers a wide variety of pay-as-you-go exercise classes and intramural sports. From pilates and spin classes to intramural basketball, volleyball, and badminton, you are sure to find the weekly activity that will get you moving, even in the dead of winter.
Don’t forget your vitamin D
Finally, the coming winter changes our lives drastically—the darkness and shorter days mess with our humour and lead to symptoms such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and an overall lack of motivation. A great way to elevate your mood and combat the lack of summer sunshine is to eat an abundance of vitamin D-rich foods, including salmon, mushrooms, eggs, oranges, tuna, tofu, milk, and even a sun lamp if you’re feeling fancy.
Try and make it to your classes
Winter is an especially rough time for students who feel much less willing to trek to school. When winter arrives, class attendance takes a serious hit. Many McGillians feel discouraged from going outside, and when they do, they tend to return home much earlier due to shorter days. Many students opt for warmer and more accessible solutions, such as working from home or in cafés.
Although you can’t really blame students for wanting to avoid going to class during the dark, snowy, winter days, there are alternatives. Try to avoid getting caught in this spiral of demotivation, and find a feasible routine to make your days easier. Wear appropriate winter attire, take advantage of the metro, stick to your weekly activities, take your vitamin D and, if needed, stay and work at home from time to time.