Beating the Winter Blues

Winter quarter is here. And after only three weeks spent lounging around our hometowns, it’s back to the old grind of classes. And for many students, Winter Quarter is the toughest quarter.

“End of Fall Quarter [and] Winter are the rough times…It kind of sets in when the days start getting shorter…I get a little bummed out when the sun’s going down at like 4:30 every day…it’s tough to find motivation to do things, [and] I lose track of time more easily,” said Northwestern University sophomore John Hardberger.

Indeed the gray skies and absence of sunlight can get to even the perkiest of students. The ice, rain, cloudiness, and snow can be somewhat debilitating and even inconvenient.

“The weather made it harder to get back and forth to campus,” remembers André Goins, a Chicago native and alum of Wilbur Wright College (formerly Wright Junior College) and UIC. He added that the extended dreariness of winter makes the warmth of springtime that much more welcome.

“The winters can be kind of grueling… everybody’s fine with it through December  [and] through January, by February it’s getting kind of old…by the time it starts to get 60º and 70º again, everybody pretty much cheers. For it to be gray and gloomy everyday, it was keeping me from smiling.”

The first snowfall can be a pleasure to many students as was pointed out by Northwestern junior Billy Choo. But even the wonder of the snow can start to fade as the pure white magic goes away and is replaced with “ice and…muddy snow,” as Northwestern sophomore Steph Shapiro pointed out. Some students don’t want to go out as much and a sense of melancholy can fall over campus.  Thankfully, there is hope! This doesn’t have to be you and indeed there are a lot of ways to beat these “mid-year blues” and make winter fun and special. By just taking time out of your schedule for a few of these simple (and fairly inexpensive) activities, you can truly experience the magic of winter and turn it from drab to fab!

Some ways to spice up the chilly season are:

  • Decorate your room- The holidays are past, but that certainly doesn’t mean that your festive spirit has to. Spruce up your wall decorations, change your color scheme, or even add some white icicle lights around your dorm for a different atmosphere to welcome in the New Year and the second half of the school year. Make sure to include your roommate in the fun if you have one, and check to see if your school has any policies on decorating and fire hazards before you start!
  • Channel your inner child-Yes, this means exactly what you think it means. Play in the snow, build snowmen, have snowball fights and make snow angels just like on the cartoons. You’d be surprised how much tension and sadness can be relieved by just letting go every once in a while and having some good old-fashioned fun. As Goins excitedly pointed out, "There's nothing like a football game in the snow!" If you’re not up for frolicking outside, gather a group of friends and go ice skating at your nearby ice skating rink. The winter is a time for making memories and being active and you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Plus, with all the exercise you’ll get playing outside, when spring (aka the beginning of bathing suit season) rolls around, you’ll have that much less to do in the way of working out!
  • Treat yourself: This can apply to any season of course, and probably should be applied to every season. But come on, this is the season of hot soups, specialty coffees and teas, hot cider, and lots of other sweets that will warm you up during those chilly nights. During the warmer seasons, some of these foods and beverages are available, but they tend to only make you hotter which, speaking as a native Floridian, is not enjoyable in the middle of summer. Winter is the time where it will all really hit the spot. So go for it! Hit up Starbucks once a week for a Pumpkin Spice Latte and on the way home pick up a hot, freshly baked cookie from that bakery you’ve been dying to try! You’ll be warmer and you’ll be smiling and during winter, both of these things are simply wonderful!

 

These are only some of the ways you can make your Winter quarter go by quickly and without the gloominess that tends to accompany the season. The most important thing to remember is to not shy away from the weather.  Simply taking a brisk early morning walk can be enough to perk you up. Yes it is cold, but since when is cold the end of good times? As my English teacher once said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” So dress warmly, take a deep breath, and enjoy!

 

 

Happy holidays everyone!