So what’s the real story on the weather?
From the stories & advice below, you might think we live in Antarctica – but we don’t. Well, not quite anyhow. What they say about many parts of the United States holds true here too – “If you don’t like the weather in the Berkshires, just wait five minutes.” The weather changes with the seasons, and while we do experience a real winter here, it does get above the freezing mark as well.
And yes, it’s truly beautiful here – no joke.“As a Ghanaian, my greatest fear concerning Williams was the cold. In the end, I finally found the secret: layering and more layering. Plus the snow is fun. Also, don’t get used to one type of weather, it’s hot one day and cold the next. It’s a good mix.” – Nana Ama Ofori Atta ’19 “The cold and dry winter days are probably the worst it can get, and I have never appreciated 45 degree weather before coming to Williams. You really learn to appreciate all forms of weather, because once it gets nice and warm in the spring, you’l be craving for the winter chills.” – Omar Kawam ’20 “Okay, it’s not that bad. Currently, snow is coming down in heaps, but at least it is gorgeous. The wind is really what’ll get you, so scarves pulled up on your face are a life saver. But no, I don’t own Bean Boots and I’ve somehow made it this far. I’m going to stay strong, so can you (but I mean a pair for my birthday wouldn’t be the worst thing…).” – Erica Chang ’18 “This past year the weather wasn’t terribly cold! It’s usually the wind that gets you, so I’d recommend scarves and gloves and hats to bundle up, and a nice jacket. Luckily, most buildings are walking distance at Williams, so you don’t have to be out in the cold for long. And when it does snow, it’s the perfect time to hang out with a few friends and make a snowman!” – Krushi Maisuria ’19 “Boots, hats, mittens, scarves, warm coats, waterproof jackets… a strong mind that reminds yourself to attend classes and a warm heart that attracts friends to cuddle around you in the cold… then you are all set.” – Xiaoyong Cui ’20 “Frankly, the weather is really not a problem. Sure, it can get pretty chilly during the Winter months, but I spend most of the time inside even on nicer days, whether it’s classes, hanging out with friends, or grabbing meals. It’s a small campus, so you won’t have far to walk to wherever you are going. I also love the frequent snowfall because it allows us to have such winter fun with sledding, monster-snowman making, and winter sports!” – Daniel Brandes ’18 “I always was cold back home. Everywhere I went, I had a sweater with me even when it was 90 out. Now that was in Miami, FL. Coming here, I was freaking out and saying my not-that-sarcastic goodbyes to my friends when the temperature dropped below 65. But I survived! It is currently in the 50s outside and I got so excited that I’m wearing a skirt! The easiest way to prepare is to check the weather every morning and layer. If you have never experienced winter, like me, you’ll make some mistakes (I once put on a snow jacket thinking it was just a thicker coat at like 48 degrees) but you will soon learn. Also, snowball fights are fun so make the best of the winter!” – Alexia Barandiaran ’19 “First Days is sweaty as heck, but it gets enjoyable by late September. After that, the cold starts creeping in, but in a gradual, beautiful way. There’s time to savor the Berkshire autumnal scenery, but when it fades the breathtaking snow almost makes up for it.” – Kayley McGonagle ’18 “Never go outside with wet hair in winter. Your hair will freeze and it’s not fun.” – Erikka Olson ’19 “Everyday, I think that I’m stronger than the cold – but I’m not. I always need more layers than I think I do. Do not underestimate the cold. Also, huge gloves are VERY important. Don’t get me wrong, winter is fun, but only when your fingers aren’t in pain.” – Cristina Mancilla ’20 “Being a California boy all my life, I sure was not ready for New England weather. What I can say is that it’s all about being ready clothing wise. Don’t be like me and walk outside in the middle of winter without a form of headwear or gloves – or else you will return to your room with frozen hands and ears.” – Mauro Renteria ’19 “As someone from Hawaii, I wasn’t sure what to expect regarding the weather, so I held off on buying warm clothes until I arrived at Williams and then asked my entry mates what the best things to buy were. (P.S. buy boots early and break them in!) If you layer and check the temperature every morning, you’ll be used to the cold in no time. If I can do it, you certainly can!” – Ayami Hatanaka ’18 “Freezing hair is an actual thing that happens. If you’re a morning showerer run it through a towel a few times before you go outside or else you’ll spend your first class waiting for your hair to thaw.” – Megan Siedman ’20 “I’m from Massachusetts, but I only realized this year that surviving the winter is a lot easier if you actually own a warm coat (and a hat and mittens)! Turns out there are actually super warm coats out there – who would have known…!” – Emma Reichheld ’19 “Be prepared for anything: you may get snow, you may get freezing cold, or your may get a weirdly warm and slushy January. Keeping a good attitude towards the weather is most important: let yourself be excited by the first snowfall and try not to get too annoyed with the constant cold. The snow makes the Berkshires gorgeous, you just have to be able to appreciate it!” – Janelle Gowgiel ’20 “Yes it’s cold, but scarves and gloves will save your life.” – Stephanie Boulger ’18
“It’s really hot and nice out during First Days, and the early autumn is beautiful too. However, winter is extremely cold. It will snow as early as October. As a New Yorker who only lives 3 hours away from Williams, even I was surprised by how frigid the temperature gets up here! Never go outside without gloves unless you want your fingers to go completely numb, get some durable snow boots, wear scarves, and drink lots of tea and hot cocoa!” – Katarina Mattmuller ’20 “As a Californian, rain and snow were foreign concepts to me. I learned early that hiking boots will get you very far; they are waterproof AND slip-proof in the unpredictable New England weather. Add long, puffy jackets and bug repellents on your list and you are good to go! This year was particularly warm, but there are no guarantees for next year. Just be extra careful of seasonal sicknesses especially if you are not from the Northeast.” – Serapia Kim ’19 “There is no denying the cold and the snow, but the longevity of the winter gives you time to appreciate the beauty of the snow-capped trees and pristine white lawns and charming snow-covered houses in Williamstown.” – Eliza Matt ’18 “Fall in the Berkshires is world-class leaf peeping season, and winter is equally as stunning. Just remember to bring gloves. The secret is layering. Forget the flimsy see-through sweaters and go out and buy some real clothes made of wool, fleece, and flannel. The weather is pretty easy to manage if you’re prepared for it. Here’s a trick: look at the temperature in Celsius. It will make the Fahrenheit number sound less cold. Promise. My friends all made fun of me for talking about the temperature in terms of Celsius, but it always sounded way more impressive to say it was a chilly -16 degrees. Until it was actually -16 degrees Fahrenheit…” – Miranda Weinland ’19 “Before I came to Williams, I thought 50 degrees was unbearably cold; I thought I was doomed to freeze in the Berkshire winters. Everyone I asked for advice assured me: “Get a thick long winter coat and good boots and you’ll be fine.” They were so right. Now I step out in 15 degree weather and think “Oh, it’s kind of warm today!” – Stephanie Caridad ’18 “The weather’s not really all that bad here. It varies year-to-year and it is MUCH worse in other places. People just like to complain and commiserate about weather in general. Dealing with the weather just depends on your mindset. If you want to dislike it – you will. Alternatively, if you decide to look at weather as an experience and try to see the benefits of it (say a snowman, a snowball fight, or as great for the scenery), then you will have MUCH better interactions with the elements.” – Dorothy Gaby ’18 “Layering is absolutely essential. It does get cold, but bearing the weather is definitely worth the gorgeous seasons here in the Berkshires. First Days can be pretty hot but it cools off quickly. Fall is my favorite – it isn’t too cold and all the trees are so many different colors. The mountains are breathtaking. The most underrated essential winter gear is warm socks – they make a world of difference. Don’t forget a hat and glove too” – Erin Denham ’20 “It. is. cold. But you know what? It doesn’t really phase many people! Particularly during Winter Study you will have a ton of chances to enjoy the outdoors, and often it will be below freezing. But few things are as fun or rewarding as bundling up, going skiing and sledding on the god course, and then coming back to the warmth of the indoors. Enjoy the outside! It’s beautiful up here!!!” – Johanna Wassermann ’18