Tips for Moving to New York from the Sunshine State

Blog Post

Sammi L Photo Sammie L.

If there is anything I can prepare you for as a native Floridian at Cornell, it's the winter weather. Ithaca, NY, is home to all four seasons, and if you're a student from a different climate, you might be surprised as summer turns to fall and then to a cold winter. To help you prepare, whether you're from Florida or another warm locale, here are Sammie's three S's for a Successful transition.  

Scope Out the Area  

Learn about the weather in Ithaca by visiting campus, watching videos online, or tracking the weather patterns. The campus has gorgeous waterfalls and bridges. Floridians are familiar with rain, so if you're like me, bring your regularly used umbrellas for early fall and late spring. Ithaca does have summer heat the first two to three weeks of school, so bring extra fans if that would make you more comfortable.   

Stock up on Supplies  

Get a coat! You will want a long coat that covers the more sensitive parts of your body (your knees and neck). This is good protection for when you have to sit on cold or icy surfaces. I am a big believer in quality over appearance! If you get a coat for the "style" rather than the purpose… you will end up needing to get another one later on. Also, don't be afraid to pull out your coat earlier than students accustomed to colder temperatures. Trust me, you would rather be warm than uncomfortable. 

It might also be helpful to have an "in-between jacket" suitable for the fall/early winter but not necessarily too heavy to weigh you down when there isn't snow.  

Invest in a good pair of winter boots. You'll want them to cover your shins and have ankle support so you don't trip on ice. You'll also want a good pair of gloves, thick socks, a beanie, and a scarf. When it's frigid outside, you will want to layer these things under your big coat. 

My trade secret is also to buy HotHands packets, little pocket-sized hand warmers that warm up as you rub them together in your hands. It would help to put these in places more sensitive to the cold. I put these between my sock layer and my boot, which helps keep my feet warm. I also put one at the back of my neck, wrapped up by a scarf to keep my neck and face warm.   

If any of these items financially burden you, Cornell offers a way to request funding for essentials determined by need through the Access Fund

Stay Busy  

Being from the South, I am used to doing outdoor activities all year round. In Ithaca, it might be easy to convince yourself that staying inside is best when it's cold, but once I fought this urge, I found that there are still many fun cold-weather activities. 

The fall season brings opportunities to go bowling (right on campus!), Ithaca's Apple Fest, pumpkin carving, smores and hot cocoa, alpaca petting, and more! Take advantage of the prettiest time of year to explore the unique upstate New York traditions of apple cider, hiking, and exploring the surrounding areas like Niagara Falls and New York City, three to four hours away. 

Go to the observatory — being at a higher altitude makes the sky much clearer! Cornell's Fuertes Observatory, conveniently located on North Campus, is open on Fridays from 8 PM to midnight. You'll see stars and constellations and hear some fun facts in astronomy-student-led discussions.  

Watch a hockey game — Cornell is world-renowned for its hockey team, and there is no experience quite like Big Red Hockey. Crowds chant cheers, and students fill the indoor rink during weekends in the fall/winter.   

Watch a Cornell Cinema film — the Cornell Cinema is located on campus on the bottom floor of Willard Straight and frequently plays movies throughout the year.  

Then, of course, when fresh snow hits, grab some friends and go sledding or skiing!  

A reminder: You are not alone! When I first came to Cornell, I realized there were tons of other students from the Sunshine State and places even warmer worldwide. Upperclass students and these other students offered great advice. Lean on your best resource: people! The changing seasons are a beautiful sight, and as you adjust to Cornell, you'll compile your own tips, tricks, and fun activities.