Spring Fever

Sara Levy

What is it about a little bit of sun that turns ordinarily studious young adults into a bacchanal mob and leaves no campus courtyard unafflicted? Even the presence of Vitamin D cannot justify it.

Perhaps first-year Matt Dittrich was on to something when he said that for him, the reappearance of sun after a long winter is life-affirming.

“When it’s sunny out, I feel so alive,” he said. “Winter is the season when you realize that you only have so many years to live, and spring is the time when you see how many you still have left.”

However, Dittrich added that the presence of sun, while serving as an end to the depression of winter, can actually be a cause for a different type of depression when it is combined with doing homework.

“I noticed that people who were reading Wuthering Heights outside in the sun hated it, but the people who waited until nighttime when it was dark and spooky out loved it,” he said.

Dittrich’s suggestion is to avoid doing homework in the sun altogether, because the lack of productivity that results from the temptation to join the ultimate Frisbee game nearby is dispiriting.

First-year Oliver Wood takes this same approach.

“I just do all my homework at night after the sun goes down. It just means staying up later, but then I don’t get tired because the sun makes me less depressed,” he said. “I don’t even try to do homework in the sun right now.”

Director of Academic Resources Juli Dunn said that the reaction to Spring’s arrival need not be so extreme, and that there are ways to balance studying and sun-soaking.

“I think there is a way to productively embrace Spring Fever,” she said. “You can study out in the warm sunshine for a healthy change of environment. I wouldn’t suggest the middle of Ankeny because the distractions are too enticing, but there are places such as by Lakum Duckum and I’ve seen people in front of Prentiss.”

She also suggests getting up earlier and prioritizing work during that time so that you have the afternoon to go out and play.

Finally, there is the option of agreeing as a group to get a certain amount of work done before going outside and playing frolf together as a reward.

Interim Academic Resources Program Coordinator Colleen McKinney suggests planning to take advantage of the nice weather for a short amount of time, so that it is easier to buckle down and study later on.

“I don’t think it is a bad thing to go out after class and run around for an hour or two, as long as you know that after dinner you’re actually going to do work and not do other things,” she said. “Then you don’t feel like you’ve deprived yourself of the nice weather.”

Or sometimes when all else fails, there’s Wood’s advice: “At some point you just have to go to the library, hide in the quiet room, and not look outside.”

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