There's some things you may want to consider as you are researching your potential colleges. Climate is an important one as Texas has a summer where 100 degrees is considered normal, whereas Vermont spends several months blanketed in snow. Consider that you may need to budget for appropriate clothing (and footwear).
Be sure to check sites like US Climate Data for the following:
- Temperature highs and lows (climatograph)
- Days with precipitation
Bear in mind, according to US Climate Data:
- Hilo has an average 126.69 inches of rainfall a year
- Seattle has an average of 37.13 inches of rainfall a year
No city will compare in rain to here. However in Seattle they are going to have an average of 19 days of precipitation in January, which means it's cloudy and drizzling for weeks on end. Whereas Florida gets the tropical downpours like in Hilo--dropping an avg of 6-7 inches in July through September--they get hurricanes from June through November.
Humidity is something else to bear in mind. When moving to a dryer climate everything from your skin to your hair acts differently. Sometimes it will settle the tight curls you've had your whole life, but it can also dry and crack skin along with other ailments.
Living on a volcanic island, we have more natural disaster potential than most other places.
Bear in mind the locals will be as chill as you are about all the hazards here on the island. So there's no need to panic, but these should be considered depending on the region.
Here's some things you should consider:
- We are in the middle of the tectonic plate. The West Coast of the USA is right on the fault line. California earthquakes are serious.
- We get hit every once in a while. In Florida and the Southern states: batten down the hatches because storms like Katrina can really ruin your day.
- ... not so much. That's definitely a Big Island thing. If any of the volcanoes in the Cascades woke up you'd hear about it. They tend to rumble before they blow. That said if you're going to Montana, Yellowstone it might be worth researching.
- ... again probably not. You will most likely be land locked, but if you're on the West Coast and maybe Florida it's a remote possibility.
- Perhaps. Depends on what kind of terrain you're moving to.
- Here's something you probably haven't experienced. The clouds turn colors like green and brown, lightning starts looking pink and purple. Then you hear that familiar tsunami siren and it means "duck and cover, right now!" Like - lock yourself in a basement, closet, or inner room away from glass and the edges of the structure. Why? Because things like houses or cows decide to take flying lessons without any landing gear or breaks.
- Stock up on food and water and don't expect to go anywhere for a while. When snow not only covers your entire door but is stacked up to the roof, it's time to curl up with a good book and some hot cocoa.
- Think volcano, but much faster, and affected by the wind.
- It's like when the catchment is really low. Short showers, water conservation.
Being on an island in the middle of the Pacific isolates the inhabitants from many potential creature dangers. Listed below are some plants and animals you may want to be aware of, depending on the region you visit:
- Poison Plants
- They look innocent until you're dousing yourself in calomine lotion or benadryl anti-itch creme. Or stinging nettles -- they look fuzzy until you touch them. But there are plants here that share the same issues, so do your research, don't touch.
- Oh yeah, these guys will ruin your day. Usually in warmer climates, so if you're heading to the southern states know they like pukas, and safe places to hide. They will leave you alone unless you step on them. There are non-venomous breeds (especially in the Northwest) but research, and don't touch. And remember "Red touches yellow you're a dead fellow. Red touches black, you're ok Jack."
- Sure there are mosquitoes, fire ants, and centipedes--those are a problem here too--however we are talking scorpions, hornets, ticks, chiggers, and spiders like the black widow or brown recluse. Again they aren't everywhere; just don't touch, wear pants, good shoes or hiking boots, (sad we know). If you get to experience winter you will be delighted at how the entire insect population just vanishes.
- The biggest fear here is sharks. Though valid, they won't be chasing you up Mauna Kea. If you're going to go adventuring in the wild you need to know land predators come in some bigger sizes on the mainland, ranging to the small badgers, racoons, wolverines (oh yeah, they're a thing!), foxes, bobcats and coyotes and going all the way up to wolves, cougars, bears or alligators or crocodile if you're in the South. Though they avoid humans for the most part there will be regions where they aren't afraid of you. Travel with a buddy, carry some noise makers, and fire never hurts.
Last but not least, you live in paradise. You're going to want to know how to acclimatize to what most likely will be a colder climate.