Illinois winters no walk in the park; be prepared

By AJ Edwards

With two snowfalls before winter has officially started, it’s time we start preparing for the bad weather we all know we’re going to see.

Whether you’re preparing your vehicle to run smoothly or need to keep ice off of your sidewalk, there are several important things to consider before we get any more snow or ice.

The first thing we need to start doing is dressing for the weather. As unfortunate as it is, the time for short sleeves and sandals has come to an end.

“Wear boots and a warm jacket, and make sure you wear hats and gloves,” said senior psychology major Kaitlyn Donahue. “Also, get long underwear to help insulate yourself.”

Donahue is absolutely right. Make sure you have your winter jackets out and your ear muffs at the ready. Long johns also work wonders at keeping your legs and butt nice and warm.

Another thing to consider is making sure you have enough time to shower in the morning before you leave for class so your hair doesn’t freeze once you step out the door.

It might mean waking up an extra 15 minutes early, but that certainly beats having icicles form on your head.

Not only do you need to stay warm, you also need to prepare for traveling in these soon-to-be treacherous conditions.

Make sure your car is ready to take on the challenges the Illinois winter is going to throw at us.

“I always make sure that the tires on my car have good tread,” said Rebecca Cronin, graduate business administration student. “Also, I make sure that my heat is working.”

Not only do you have to keep your tires fresh for traction and change your oils and fluids, you should also consider having an emergency kit just in case the weather gets you stranded.

According to, you should have flares, blankets, boots, a radio, engine oil, washer fluid, coolant and a flashlight in your emergency kit.

Having glycerine for lock de-icing at your home or in your backpack can come in handy, too, if your locks freeze. Don’t risk snapping your key in half trying to force the lock open.

As students, we have to make sure we are safe while on campus. Pay attention to the sidewalk so you do not slip and get hurt. While I am sure NIU’s groundskeepers will do everything they can to help us stay safe, it never hurts to stay vigilant in case there’s any ice the salt misses.

Preparing for external winter conditions isn’t the only concern. You also need to be prepared for sickness, which can follow you inside from the cold.

Getting a flu shot will help you stay healthy, as well. According to Health Services’ website, it’s important to get an influenza vaccine each year if you want to reduce your risk of catching an illness.

If you become sick, don’t go to class and risk getting your classmates sick. Have a friend take notes for you, and stay on top of your homework.

With the incoming poor weather Illinois never fails to give us, it’s important for us to stay safe and healthy.

Let’s make these last few weeks of the semester the best that we can and end them on a good, healthy note.