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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Desert Living 101 — hints and tips for living in the desert

Ana Beltran
The Tucson monsoon creates clouds behind the barrel cactus before starting the rain. The cactus and other desert plant life rely on the rains for their water needs.

Editor’s note: This article was produced as part of the Daily Wildcat‘s 2018 Campus Guide — the perfect resource for any incoming Wildcat. Whether you’re trying to find important dates, looking for a club to join or are interested in UA history and traditions, we’ll be there to help you get through your first semester. Welcome to the University of Arizona!  

If you’re from Tucson or Phoenix, this isn’t for you. But if you’re here at the University of Arizona from another state or country — or if you hail from northern Arizona — you’re going to want to know how to approach living in the desert for the first time. 

Stay hydrated

Tucson is in a desert. You need water to survive this harsh heat. You can buy bottled water, but we recommend buying a reusable water bottle because it’s cheaper than buying bottled water every day. Have you already finished your water? Don’t worry; you can refill it at water fountains located throughout campus.

          RELATED: History of rain: How monsoons have shaped desert culture

Stay in buildings

Look up at the sky. You will see the enormous, gorgeous expanse above you, and there is nothing like a tall building or tree to disturb your view. However, this also means nothing protects you from the strong sunshine. The campus is huge. Don’t torture yourself when you walk across it. Walk through buildings to stay cool so that you do not die of exposure.

Use items like sunglasses, umbrellas and caps

You don’t have a building you can walk through en route to class? Then use your favorite sun-blocking items to avoid sunshine. Sunglasses are great, and I recommend umbrellas because they make shade for you. Also, use sunscreen and insect repellent since mosquitoes will bite you.

Take a walk during the cooler parts of the day

You say you want to grab a cup of coffee nearby, or you want to take your dog for a walk? And you want to eat outside to feel a breeze? That’s nice. Go for it, but only if it’s during the early morning or late evening. Walking during a beautiful sunset is awesome!

Be careful with cactus spikes 

There are lots of cactuses that line the roads and streets here in Tucson, not only in nearby neighborhoods, but also on campus and on sidewalks. While they may look fluffy or interesting, try not to touch them. Their spikes may be sharper than you think, and you will get hurt. 

          RELATED: DeGrazia’s birthday celebration renews respect for Sonoran culture

Wear light-colored clothes

Tucson is so dang hot. Avoid wearing dark-colored clothes and long sleeves outside. However, it may be cold for you inside buildings because of air conditioning. Bring cardigans if needed, but be sure to enjoy the cool air before you have to face the sun again.

Prepare for sudden rain

Summer is monsoon season here. You could walk into class with the sun shining and walk out into a torrential downpour. Watch the local forecast or check your weather app daily and prepare yourself for some of the craziest, prettiest thunderstorms you’ll ever experience.

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