Thriving During Michigan Winters
March 12, 2020
Lisa Kim

I’d lived in Michigan for six years by the time I started college, so I was a little bit used to the infamous Michigan winter. However, I wasn’t sure what the added dynamic of bussing and walking to classes would be like. Turns out, it’s not so bad and actually very beautiful. Michigan winters are cold, to be sure, but with a little bit of preparation and extra care, you can thrive during the winter!


Because your classes can be in buildings all over campus, it’s important to have a great pair of sturdy and warm shoes that can help you walk in the snow. Sidewalks are cleared and salted frequently and at all times of day, but if it’s snowing throughout the day or there is a lot of slush on the sidewalk, you’ll want to make sure your feet are protected. There are plenty of places around campus to get affordable winter gear, including nearby Briarwood Mall, and I know that many of my friends check Facebook groups (like Ladies of UofM: Buy, Sell, Trade) for great deals.

Protect your hands

It’s hard to forget to wear a coat in the winter, but it’s pretty easy to forget gloves or mittens. (Try keeping them in your coat pocket!) But you want to make sure that your hands are also protected from the cold as you walk to your classes and meetings. In Michigan, protect all of your extremities.

Free heat

If you live in the university dorms, you will get incredible heat in your room. Sometimes it’s so much so that I forget that it’s actually winter when I’m in my room. Case in point, I wear shorts when I’m in Bursley at all times of year. Best of all, because I live in a dorm, heat is free!

Eat your vitamin D

No one has time for the flu. Help keep it at bay by making sure you’re getting all of the vitamin D you need, as it helps boost your immune system. Given that a lot of people get a significant portion of their vitamin D through their skin, as it generates vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, it’s especially important to make sure that you are getting additional vitamin D through your diet. Hit up that salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milk!

Free transportation

Blue buses run until the early hours of the morning, and you can track the buses in real time on your phone, so you can minimize the time that you spend outside. There are also additional services for even after buses stop running. Ride Home is a free taxi service that will take you to your home or car when the buses aren’t running, and is available seven days a week. SafeRide is another free service that will drive you straight to your dorm or apartment from any university building. Free door-to-door service is great!

Plan your outside time 

It’s just a little bit harder to go outside once you’re inside, so I’ve found it helpful to meticulously plan my time outside so I can get everything done with one trip out. During the warmer months, it can be nice to take a walk outside to go somewhere or pick up something you forgot to get when you were out earlier, but during the winter, it can be a little bit harder, so optimize for as few trips out as possible!

Snow might slow you down a little but it’s gorgeous. Just make sure you’ve got all the proper gear, and you’ll get through Michigan winters without any problems!



Lisa Kim

is a senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, majoring in computer science. She can often be found in the Dude, which she has found to be the most conducive to long study sessions. When she's not coding, Lisa can be found playing the piano, engaging with new Wolverines through her job as an RA, or eating good food with good people. Some of her favorite things include listening to electronic music and drinking lots of black coffee.