The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Freshmen from warmer climates face the changing winter weather with a feeling of uncertainty.

Credit: Julio Sosa

As winter fast approaches, students are once again pulling out their snow boots, scarves and gloves to face frigid treks across campus.

But for freshmen from warmer climates, the change of weather brings a strong feeling of uncertainty. With a mixture of anxiety and excitement, these students are gearing up for their first winter.

“I used the weather as a reason against [coming to] Penn. I know it sounds trivial, but I actually am quite scared,” said College freshman Lucy Hu.

Hu’s hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, rarely gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Bracing herself for her first winter, she and other warm climate natives do not know what to expect.

“I knew it would get cold, but not this cold. Like normal cold,” said Nursing freshman Sylvia Kimwei. For Kimwei, who is from Nairobi, Kenya, “normal cold” is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Winter is a bad idea for me,” she said.

Frantically attempting to buy all the proper winter necessities, Kimwei and other freshmen like her have little idea how to prepare for the temperature change.

“I’ll look at my phone and see the temperature is in the 40s. And I realized I have no idea what this means and what I should be wearing right now,” said Engineering freshman and San Diego resident Mason Elms.

For another student, Engineering freshman Azzam Althagafi, winter is so new that he is learning completely new concepts. Before coming to Penn, he had never heard of snow pants.

“Now that I’m here, I am more terrified about winter than I used to be,” said Althagafi, a native of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Others are optimistic about the coming winter. For some, having four distinct seasons is a novel concept.

“I chose Penn because I wanted the seasons,” said Nursing freshman and Florida resident Monica Aber.

Many students have never experienced snow and are eager to see if it is as fun as they imagine. College freshman Elena Hoffman has seen snow at ski resorts, but has never seen snow fall from the sky and eagerly awaits the first snowfall.

“I am excited to make snowballs and roll around in the snow,” she said.

Though she is going home for winter break, Hoffman has always longed for a wintery Christmas.

“Living in California you don’t get this quintessential snowy, fire in the fireplace feel. People go to the beach on Christmas,” she said.

Kimwei has also dreamed of having a white Christmas. Her family and other residents of Kenya put cotton balls on the floor around their Christmas tree to create a snowy atmosphere.

“I want to see if Christmas is as white and colorful as people say,” she said.

Mostly, students are excited to experience their first class cancellation because of snow. When the concept of a snow day was explained to Hu, she said, “I’m excited for that. It’ll be just like the movies!”