The Big Move: first years discuss moving from hot to cold

By Alessandra Amano

Colby enrolls students from all over the United States and the world. According to Colby College Instagram, the admitted Class of 2022 is made up of students from 67 different countries and 47 different states. With this diversity of hometowns comes an assortment of different places with various different cultures, environments, and weather.

October has come and gone, and Waterville has already seen snow on two or three instances. There’s also been a noticeable drop in temperature in the two months since classes have begun. As the weather begins to shift, hats, gloves, and heavy-duty jackets are a necessity. For those who have not encountered the extreme winters of Maine, or on the East Coast in general, the many Colby students form the Northeast United States often wonder how newcomers are handling the cold and how they are preparing themselves for the winter.

First year Collins Kibet, who comes from the highlands of Kenya in Eastern Africa is “skeptical but excited” for his first winter in Maine. Kenya stays reasonably moderate throughout the year, and Kibet explains that the temperature in Kenya now ranges from about 55 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much warmer than Maine’s weather. This upcoming winter will be Kibet’s first both in Maine and in life. As Kibet did his research when looking at colleges, he knew of the volatile weather and extreme cold during the winter months and came prepared. “I got a couple of nice winter jackets, boots, and warm clothes. I was advised to get these by experienced people of Maine. Staying warm is key.” When asked if weather was a determining factor, Kibet stated it was not in his decision to come to Colby, and went on to say: “Initially, I wasn’t familiar with the climatic conditions in northern United States but later on in my application process I learned about the cold and freaky weather in Maine. My friends who’ve been here told me that I’ll adapt after some time.”

First year Pilar Fuentes ’22, who is from Texas said: “I am scared for my first winter in Maine,” chalking this up to hearing that some experience seasonal depression. But Fuentes has not let this get her down, stating: “so far I love it here. I’ve been adjusting to the weather.” Much like Kenya, Texas does not experience drastic shifts in seasons and is pretty consistent when it comes to weather and temperature.

Fuentes said the weather in Texas now ranges from “low 80s to high 70s,” which is quite a change of pace from the high 30s to low 40s Colby experiences here. As for how Fuentes is preparing for the winter, she says “I have a good jacket. I went to the Freeport trip that Colby provides for international and out of state students. It was helpful.” In terms of clothing, it sounds like Fuentes is fully prepared for her first east coast winter.

First year JT Munz made the trip across the United States to attend Colby. Coming from San Francisco, California although known for its colder temperatures compared to other parts of California, experiences temperatures around 55–65 degrees Fahrenheit around this time. As for the severe temperature change from California to Maine, Munz said; “I’m excited for winter but I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the cold every day for the next few months.”

When asked what drove Munz to attend a school on the opposite side of the country, he says the weather was not a deciding factor; rather, “I mostly just wanted to spend time in a completely different part of the country.”

There is no doubt that no matter where one is from, Maine’s extremely cold and lengthy winters are unique. For this reason, many wonder why students travel long distances from warmer climates to Colby, and many who travel are unprepared. However, many winter activities in Maine, such as skiing and snowboarding, are unparalleled. The winter in Maine is an experience for everyone, with both its positive and negative qualities.