Regis - Ellen Atkinson

Being unprepared

Ellen – Semester Exchange to Regis University, USA

Semester 1, 2017

On my first morning at Regis University in Denver Colorado I woke up to the wonderful surprise of a completely snow covered campus!

My feelings ranged from “Omg snow…. EVERYWHERE!!” to “Omg, I am so unprepared for this”. Unfortunately two suitcases worth of clothes, shoes and toiletries are still not enough. I pride myself on my packing skills, but I did not have any idea what I was going into – my jackets and jumpers are nowhere near warm enough for this weather. I had one coat and one pair of sneakers and essentially nothing snow weather appropriate. Fortunately, Amazon Prime exists in the USA. So, I quickly jumped online, ordered a warm waterproof jacket and a pair of snow boots and then ventured out to explore the campus and find a hot coffee.

One month in and I still feel completely unprepared; the Denver weather has been varying in temperatures every week. I have found solace in help and advice from my roommates in regard to what I need to own (down jackets and fleece lined tights) and how to dress appropriately for the weather.

I still find myself walking out of the house and walking straight back in to put on another jacket. Cold here is not the same as Australia so it has been an adjustment to the climate although Denver weather is relatively sunny.

Layering and wearing beanies and a warm pair of shoes can make all the difference. I am trying not to spend too much money on shopping but my best advice is- don’t try to purchase winter clothes before arriving. It is best to save that money and spend it here. Even if it is online, from the comfort of your bed or going to the mall, there are always sales and everything you buy here will be warmer than anything you could get in Australia. This will also leave you with more space in your suitcase and you will thank yourself later for this.

I am hoping that I get to explore all of Colorado while I am here and experience the various weather conditions.

The campus at Regis is beautiful with or without snow, and we have had weather varying from snow to ice to hot days. For a week the campus was completely covered in ice and I had to shuffle everywhere in fear of slipping over (which I did anyway… 3 times).

Even though the first 3 weeks were freezing- the last 3 have been super warm! Almost every day has been between around 22 degrees and everybody is sitting on the field tanning. This is another reason not to try and buy all your clothes before coming over here… you don’t know what kind of winter you are going to have!

I think I have acclimatised to the cold/warm changes but secretly I am hoping for a snow day soon, just so I can experience one.

So far exchange has been fantastic, but I will admit that it took me a while to settle in. To adjust to living with fewer luxuries than I am used to at home, like a full wardrobe of clothes and a car to go and get something whenever I need it. But you get used to living with a little bit less, and realise that it’s about the experiences you are having and not what you’re wearing in the pictures.