The day you’re trying to figure out how to get all your boxes and your new futon up to your fourth-floor suite is guaranteed to be the hottest, most humid of the year. And the extra family members and boxes and stress of those first few days don’t do much to cool you off. As you unpack box after box, you’ll wonder why you brought so many sweaters or what this rubbish everyone was telling you about New England winters was all about. Don’t be tricked, though — it will get cold. Very cold. And then you’ll think back wistfully to your first days here.
The first thing to know is that New Haven weather is extremely unpredictable. This past winter was unusually warm, while the winter before saw massive amounts of snow and prolonged periods of bitter cold. There are general patterns you can expect from a New Haven winter, but don’t be surprised if you pull out your flip-flops for a day in December.
As would seem appropriate, the weather during Camp Yale can seem oppressively hot. Lucky freshmen living in Swing Space next year (Berkeley, Morse and Stiles freshmen) will have the luxury of air conditioning, but everyone else would be well-advised to buy a fan. But the heat doesn’t last long, and soon it gives way to fall.
Fall is beautiful and lasts for most of the first semester. In the fall, everyone drags out their blankets, chairs and even couches, and does their reading outside. If you’re not used to having all four seasons, fall will make you wonder how you’ve missed it your whole life. Trees turn yellow, orange and red, and stay colorful for weeks. If you run, bike or have a car, make sure to take a trip up to East Rock to see the view at the peak of the season. Fall weather may continue as late as Thanksgiving break, but when you come back in December, prepare for the cold.
Yes, you will need a winter jacket. And no, Floridians and Californians, the “winter jacket” you own now won’t be warm enough. Buy a warm one before you come; there aren’t many available once you get here and they can be expensive. Definitely invest in a hat and gloves, too. And be warned: the night of the first Old Campus snowball fight, those of you who have never seen snow before — let alone mastered the art of how to make the perfect snowball — become easy targets. (Tip: Remember to “borrow” trays from the dining hall for sledding).
The dreadful weather begins in December. It’s cold and windy, and the days are so short you may find yourself wandering back from your afternoon class in near darkness. But fortunately, about the time when you feel like all you want to do is hibernate, that’s about what you’ll have to do to get ready to take your finals.
Luckily, these winter blues don’t last long. The days are already longer after winter break, and it seems like you’ve barely had time to come back and suffer through the cold before you’re off to tropical places for spring break.
Spring at Yale can be very schizophrenic. It’s not unusual to wear a tank top one day followed by a sweater the next. The weather can even change drastically while you’re in class, and you may find yourself sweating — or freezing — on your way home.
And then, when you’re finally getting ready to pack up and leave for the summer, the gorgeous weather you’ve been waiting for all semester will finally show up. This late spring weather is much like the fall — beautiful. And deadly for GPAs. It will make working impossible as students flock to college courtyards and take over Old Campus. Since the fall, though, you’ll have learned that reading is optional, and talking, Frisbee and grilling will replace working. You’ll find yourself at a loss as to how you’re ever going to pass your finals.
But as soon as you do — and you will pass your finals — and are ready to enjoy the beautiful weather, Yale is going to kick you out of your room. So you’ll find yourself packing up, amazed at how your freshman year is over already, and ready to move your futon down four flights of stairs (again) in the sweltering heat.