Winter term really has the short end of the stick compared to other terms. It’s freezing cold (even when there’s no polar vortex), there’s so much snow that it’s not unusual to forget what grass looks like, it’s perpetually overcast — and, to top it all off, all of these factors combined means that no one wants to go anywhere or do anything. Some students complain that there are fewer campus events. More students complain that their friends won’t hang out as frequently because the walk from Seymour to the Quads is too brutal.
Making the most of this cold and dreary term may sound like a far-fetched dream, but it is possible. Here are some tips for having a tolerable — and perhaps even good — winter term:
- Go outside. This sounds cliché, but with so many people saying it, there must be a reason that going outside is so great. Call it vitamins from the sun or whatever you want, but just know that staying indoors will almost certainly make anyone stir-crazy. Even if you’re already cozy in bed with Netflix, give a strong preference to joining your friend for that outing they texted you about. You won’t regret doing fun things with fun people.
- Start a new hobby. It’s never too late to go to that club meeting you’ve always been interested in. Try out Ballroom Dance or Oriental Hipsters if you’re looking for a kick of endorphins — guaranteed to help shake the winter blues. And should another arctic front turn campus into a tundra, stay indoors and teach yourself something you’ve always wanted to learn. There are YouTube tutorials for everything from knitting to Parkour to HTML coding.
- Take a stay-cation. They’re the latest trend among those that don’t have the money to go on vacations (i.e. college students everywhere). So take a Saturday to remember why Galesburg is great and grab lunch at The Landmark, putz around The Antique Mall, treat yourself dinner at McGillacuddy’s and catch a movie afterwards.
- Invest in warmth. Whether this means upgrading your winter coat or turning leftover Christmas money into an electric blanket, do whatever you can to fight the cold. Remember to layer your clothing whenever possible so that you can actually adhere to Tip #1.
- Care for yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in classes, clubs, activities and social circles to the point that a seemingly endless to-do list racks up overnight. Sometimes, it’s best to drop the to-do’s for an hour or two and do something just for you. If it’ll feel better to paint your nails, take a nap, punch a punching bag, write, doodle, take a bath — do it. We’re all better at doing everything else when we do things for ourselves from time to time.
- Start a study group. This is a great solution for that surprisingly difficult elective class or that tedious struggle of a class that’s required for your major. And it’s as easy as sending out an email to the class (many of whom may even be in the same boat as you) and setting a weekly time to meet for warm drinks and one more review of those notes before a big quiz. Not to mention, this is also a great way to meet some new people.
- Get organized. If nothing else, winter term is a good time to start planning for the last half of this year and to start thinking about next year. Check out what classes you still need to take for your major and get input from your adviser about the best way to fulfill your requirements. And take a chance to look into classes that seem interesting, even if you wouldn’t normally take them. Parents like to say that college is a great time for trying new things, and they’re right.
- Talk to someone. If your winter blues are bluer than usual or just too much to handle right now, reach out to a friend, an RA, a big in a sorority or fraternity, a professor or someone in Counseling Services. There is something therapeutic about getting your worries off your chest. Once you’ve talked it out, remember not to ruminate on the things that have been bothering you — that’s a psychologist’s no-no. Start to consider ways to make things better, whether that means dropping an activity that’s become a drag or devoting more time to homework.