Do not panic. I repeat, do not panic.

Yes, the temperature has fallen below 50 degrees—something you, as a Californian, probably thought was scientifically impossible. However, this is actually a normal event here in the Midwest. In such places as South Bend, the locals observe something they refer to as “seasons.” These strange phenomena occur regularly throughout the year and should not be a cause for alarm. Yet in order to prepare you, I have created a handy checklist of eight items to make sure you are ready for the coming event known as “fall.” These items must be checked off if you are to survive.

  1. You must purchase a North Face jacket. No, there are no other brands of fall apparel acceptable.
  1. When buying cold-weather clothes, accept that they are going to make you look heavy.  That’s just how it goes—you can look cute, or you can be warm. You cannot be both.
  1. “Pumpkin spice” is not a flavor found in nature, but if you are to survive you must embrace it as one of the four essential food groups.
  1. Flip-flops do not work in the snow. Trust me, I have tried, and I have failed. No, not even Rainbows.
  1.  Pajamas are never acceptable to be worn to class. However, if you were to wear them underneath your jacket where no one could see … well now, that’s a different story.
  1. I admire your fortitude in attempting to still wear shorts, but your blue-tinged legs say otherwise. Buy pants. Seriously.
  1. Do not be intimidated by the native Midwesterners who call this weather “practically summer.” They are lying. Call them out on their bluff by inviting them to go for a casual swim in the lake.
  1. Blankets, Snuggies, or any other item intended to be used on a bed cannot be worn in public. However, this rule only applies if the temperature is positive. If negative, all bets are off. Invest accordingly.

If you can check off all the items on this list, you just might be able to survive the fall. Otherwise, feel free to play “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas and Papas on repeat until you make it home.

Declan Feeley is a senior theology and finance double major whose interests include writing and investment theory. Declan can be contacted by email at