Dear Drew, Why is winter term so awful? -Freezing Freshman There are a lot of reasons, Freezing, but your pseudonym suggests that you’re most concerned with the weather. If you want to hear things about the earth’s tilted axis, the jet stream, or fronts of various pressures, you should probably talk to someone else. All you really need to know is that you are now in Wisconsin, and this type of weather is pretty typical. In fact, this has been the mildest winter of the five that I have experienced here at Lawrence, so you should probably prepare yourself for far worse over the next few years. A good coat – not to mention hats, mittens, scarves and wool socks – and carefully planning your day to minimize time spent outside can make even the worst days pretty tolerable. For me, though, the cold weather is only part of the problem. The days are much shorter – only a paltry nine hours of sunlight right now – than in the summer, leading to less sun exposure, which leads to overall grumpier moods. The fact that all of our time outside is spent with only the tips of our noses exposed to the sun only exacerbates this problem. You may have noticed the SAD – seasonal affective disorder – lamps in your residence hall, in place to help fight these “winter blues.” I’ve found them to be quite effective, especially if you can find the time to enjoy yourself in front of them – I recommend some hot chocolate and a good book. It’s also hard to be excited about much during winter term. Fall term benefits from being the first, so everyone is excited to be back – or here for the first time – and are more willing to excuse the bad parts. Spring term similarly has the excitement of almost being done – everyone is looking forward to summer break – or the rest of their lives. Winter term has none of these perks. We’re less excited to see each other – admittedly a little more now with the longer break – and all we have to look forward to is spring term. I think the only solution for this problem lies in finding joy in smaller things. Sure, it’s too cold to throw the football around, but getting your friends together for a board game or a movie can be just as relaxing. That reminds me: Don’t forget about your friends. The weather may make the prospect of heading off to Trevor to visit your friends a little more unpleasant, but a short hike through the cold is a small price to pay for actual human contact. Another grievance I have with winter term is the way it disrupts the rhythms we set up during fall term. I get used to my schedule for the term: the wake-up times, the people I eat lunch with before and after class, the direct routes across the many lawns on campus. A new schedule, while not unique to winter term, always seems the hardest to adjust to in the second term. For this, and most of the other problems with winter term – everybody else’s mood, quality of classes available, etc. – I have little advice other than to roll with the punches. I realize this is terrible advice, so I’ll leave you with some you didn’t ask for: All in all, winter term really isn’t that bad. Don’t let the discouraging words of your peers convince you that winter term is, in fact, the worst thing on the planet. The stigma surrounding the term might even be the most powerful influence on its perception as the devil incarnate, suggesting that if you don’t buy into it, you might just end up enjoying yourself.