Winter is coming: how to prepare

Winter is coming … sort of. The heat wave hasn’t gone away yet, but it is starting to get slightly colder. While the weather is unpredictable, here are a couple of things to be prepared for in case the weather decides to flip a 180 and nip us in the butt.


1. Be prepared for the flu.


It has been proven that people catch the flu and colds more easily in the winter because more people spend time together indoors. This provides the perfect opportunity for germs to spread — so watch out! With so many students at UC Berkeley (36,204 last fall, and the number continues to rise) the common cold becomes exactly that: common. Ways to prepare include:

  • Getting the flu shot. The Tang Center offers the flu shot for $30 to students without SHIP, and the shot is free for students with SHIP. It protects against four different viruses and is preservative-free. Tang is offering drop-in hours — no appointment needed — on Nov. 12, Nov. 21 and Dec. 8.
  • Take your vitamins! Omega-3 is a fish oil that helps boost your immune system. Astragalus is a Chinese root known to help fight infection. Vitamin D helps produce a protein that fights viruses. One great store in which to look at vitamin supplements is Pharmaca, located on Solano Avenue. You can always go to common retail stores, such as Walgreens, or grocery stores, such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market, to see if they are selling any vitamins.

2. Be prepared to go to class in the cold.


If getting up for class is hard for you now, try going in the cold. Our best advice is to have the right mindset. Push through the cold, and remember it’s almost the end of the semester. Let us huddle like penguins to use each other’s warmth while we go to lecture. Ways to prepare include:

  • Using your bus pass. If you haven’t already gotten it, you can get your bus pass from 180 Cesar Chavez Center in Lower Sproul Plaza: the same place you pick up your Cal 1 Card. Every student gets one at no cost, and it lets you ride all the AC Transit bus lines and UC Berkeley shuttles for free. Taking the warm bus to class instead of walking in the cold can help keep your spirits up in the morning. We definitely recommend this for anyone living far from campus, such as those living in Clark Kerr.
  • Taking a shower at night. There is almost nothing rougher than going out in the cold with wet hair. If your schedule and your hair permit it, try taking a shower at night so as to not suffer from wet, cold hair. For anybody who does take a shower in the morning, try blow drying it before you go.
  • Taking a warm drink to go. Buy a UC Berkeley canister and fill it up at one of your favorite coffee shops near campus. Whether your coffee is from Starbucks, Pete’s Coffee or one of the many other coffee shops in Berkeley, a warm drink in the morning will help you fight the cold.

3. Be prepared to be labeled basic.


Staying warm and being fashionable can be like having your cake and eating it, too, but we at the Clog believe you can have both. But the sweaters, beanies, Uggs, scarves, layering and Starbucks may lead to you to become labeled as “basic.” Don’t let the haters prevent you from staying warm and flu-free. Prepare to be labeled basic if you wear:

  • Uggs. For those with a pair of Uggs, people may throw some fierce judgment your way, but have they ever felt how comfortable they are? How they can keep your feet in a warm blanket of pure comfort? We believe such people have yet to experience the magic behind the Uggs, and we should share the gift. Let them try on your shoes. Open their eyes. Maybe even buy them a pair, if you’re feeling generous. For those who will hate no matter what you do, we recommend you strut away on Sproul and remain proud of your shoes.
  • Scarves. Don’t be afraid to wear these bad boys. They keep your neck warm and are stylish accessories. If your grandma knit that scarf for you, we think that’s even more amazing. Scarves make a great gift, and some people receive handmade ones. Before you go insulting someone’s scarf, realize it may be a gift that holds a lot of meaning and is far from basic.
  • North Face jackets. Yes, a lot of people may own one of these jackets, and for good reason. They are top-quality and keep you warm. We once again recommend allowing haters to try on your jacket so their eyes may be opened. Maybe try letting a skeptical friend borrow your jacket for a day, but be careful, because you may not get it back!
  • Starbucks or any kind of coffee and mug. Hold up that mug high, because if someone calls you “basic” due to your drink, he or she probably just wants some of it. If you feel generous, go ahead and share. But for those people who seem to always throw judgment, we recommend taking a sip, letting the drink warm you up and just giving them a big smile. Their freezing butts will wish they were smart enough to grab a mug.

4. Be prepared for romance.


This may be the hardest part for some. Cold weather equals cuddle weather, and holidays can equal thoughts of romance. Get prepared by:

  • Getting a boyfriend/girlfriend/pet/stuffed animal. Sometimes, it’s just too difficult to get through the cold alone. This may be the perfect time to ask your crush out. If you get rejected, a pet can always make things better. If you can’t get or don’t want a pet, try getting a stuffed animal or a knit blanket — whatever it takes to get you through the loneliness of the holidays and cuddle weather.
  • Getting a couple of really good books and going to a coffee shop, because what is more romantic than sitting in a coffee shop on a cold day drinking warm tea or coffee? We guarantee you’ll look like you’re straight out of a movie, and maybe you’ll even have that romantic movie moment when that guy or girl comes over to talk to you. Some of our favorite coffee shops include Brewed AwakeningNorthside CafePhilz Coffee and Julie’s Cafe.
  • Going on dates with friends or your boyfriend/girlfriend. If you’re looking for cheap date ideas, check out Berkeley Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank.

5. Be prepared for the rain.


It may not snow here, but it can rain. Actually, we hope it rains, because we need it — curse this drought! If it does rain, things you will need include:

  • Rain boots or waterproof shoes. Has anyone walked through Sproul with cold feet and wet socks? It is NOT fun. You can grab a pair at the REI on 1338 San Pablo Ave. or buy a pair online here.
  • An umbrella — enough said. You can grab an umbrella at our very own Student Store. What’s better then a UC Berkeley-themed umbrella? You can go to the store on 2480 Bancroft Way or buy it online under “Rain Gear” in the Apparel & Accessories section here.

6. Be prepared for fun activities!


Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t prevent us UC Berkeley students from having fun. We suggest being prepared for awesome activities such as:

  • The Union Square Holiday Ice Rink in San Francisco. It is open from Nov. 5 to Jan. 19. This gives you plenty of time to plan a trip there this winter. It is open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. 90-minute skating sessions start on every even hour. It costs $11 for general admission and $7 for children eight and under. It costs $6 to rent skates. Look here for information about special upcoming events related to the ice rink, such as Single in the City: A Single’s Event, Drag Queens on Ice: Glitz & Glamour and Polar Bear Skate: The San Francisco Edition.
  • Spoke Art Gallery. For anyone who is a Wes Anderson fan, wants to get to know more about this famous director or has a passion for art, there is the Bad Dads: Wes Anderson Tribute. There are paintings and sculptures from more than 100 different artists tributing Wes Anderson. It started Nov. 2 and will run until the end of the month. Click here for more information.
  • The holidays — no class and having time with friends and family. Is there a better activity?

Sources: Dirk Houbrechts,  Allan FosterBShiny Thingsrian KoprowskitanakawhoDaniel StarkRobert MartinezShiny Things under Creative Commons

Contact Hopi Hernandez at [email protected].