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’Tis Autumn: Thanksgiving and the Shortening Day

For all of you readers who happen to be huge English nerds, you might have recognized the title of this article as alluding to the first stanza of Bernard Barton’s “Stanzas on the Approach of Winter,” which notes how quickly fall is marked with the imminence of winter:   

 

’Tis Autumn! and the short’ning day,

The chilly evening’s sober gray,

And winds that hoarser blow;

The fading foliage of the trees,

Which rustles sere in every breeze,

The approach of Winter show.

 

Autumn often feels like Canada’s shortest season. After all, only a month has passed since we were all buying textbooks at the beginning of the term and waiting in anticipation for the frenzy of everything pumpkin spice. Now, however, the onslaught of midterms is almost upon us and Thanksgiving marks just how soon crisp autumn days will be replaced with cold winter nights. Here are five tips on how to physically – and emotionally – prepare for the end of our fleeting fall weather:

1. Stock up on everything you think you could possibly need from now until December.

Waterloo winters are brutal. The wind is merciless, the sunlight is fleeting, and the slush always seems to find a way into everyone’s boots. For those of you going home for the Thanksgiving weekend, make a list of everything you need to steal from your parents, from hot chocolate mix to extra blankets. Bring back a thick winter jacket – you may need it sooner than you think.

 

2. Familiarize yourself with all the tunnels on campus that connect buildings to each other.   

Thankfully, there are tunnels connecting various buildings on campus so students don’t have to travel from class to class outside on cold or rainy days. These are mainly located on the basements floors. For instance, several bottom floor tunnels connect all of the buildings in and around the Arts Quad – Modern Languages (ML), Arts Lecture Hall (AL), Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology (PAS), and so on – and contain signs to help students navigate this underground labyrinth.   

Check out this link to learn more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leUgCJVDAVk

 

3. Start studying for midterms.

Although Thanksgiving is a time for students to appreciate the academic and social opportunities post-secondary education offers, most of us are certainly not thankful for the start of midterm season. However, as much as those of you going home for the Thanksgiving weekend would prefer to “forget” to pack your textbooks, studying for midterms now will ease the stress of preparing later. With midterms taken care of, you may very well have more energy to emotionally adjust to the changing seasons.

 

4. Know that SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Depression can manifest itself in all symptoms, forms, and severities. SAD is a type of depression triggered by seasonal changes, mostly likely caused by a hormonal imbalance that those changes bring about. While the transition from summer to fall can trigger SAD, the vast majority of people who suffer from the disorder become depressed with the transition from fall to winter. If you notice that you are constantly feeling deprived of energy or emotionally unstable to a higher extremity than you feel is normal or healthy, you may be experiencing SAD symptoms and wish to seek professional medical advice. Remember: you are never alone. Even if you feel isolated from your peer group or from the university in general, there are many resources to help you cope with mental, physical, or psychological issues. Check out this link to learn more about the counselling services the University of Waterloo offers:

https://uwaterloo.ca/counselling-services/

  

5. Appreciate the remaining days of autumn.

Take a study break to go for a walk amidst the changing colours and premature Halloween decorations. Jump in a pile of leaves. Go apple picking, or at least eat apple pie. Whether or not fall is your favourite season, and regardless of whether you would describe yourself as an outdoorsy person, autumn during Thanksgiving is breathtakingly vibrant. Take a picture. Make a memory. Autumn may not last forever, but it does not have to be forgotten when the first snow starts to fall.   

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