Sometimes I think our natural instinct is to curl up and hibernate all winter. It makes sense, and to a certain extent, we are supposed to behave differently during the cold season. We gain weight to help provide some insulation, we feel sleepier because it’s darker, we spend free time curled up in our rooms instead of playing frisbee outside.
Back in November, the campus newspaper published an article on the high incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) among students, to try and warn us as winter was beginning to set in. It turns out that depression and anxiety are pretty widespread around here as soon as the leaves drop. In fact, I have a few friends who decided to study abroad because they didn’t feel they could survive another Ohio winter.
For the record, I don’t believe in SAD. I think there are too many medical “disorders” that try to diagnose perfectly natural (if not exactly healthy) behaviors. But I do believe that winter sets college students up for isolation and depression– especially on this campus. Somehow it’s easier to stay holed up in tall stone gothic architecture.
But it turns out that there are some beautiful things in winter: little pick-me-ups, like pink-peach sunrises from my bedroom window which make it a little bit easier to get up for my early class. Stuff like this keeps me from going all Jack Nicholson in The Shining on my classmates.