Arriving home for winter break, family members and friends alike are curious about Virginia Tech life. I tell them about the Hokie Bird. My classes. My friends. Our football team. I tell them about everything that makes me wish my time at this school could be never ending.
In light of all this, I do not find anyone inquiring what I like the least about Tech — what I could change if I was all-powerful. Nevertheless, I have an answer to that question: the winter.
At first glance, one might assume I despise the cold weather here at Tech. You know, the blistering cold and cruel gusts of wind as you walk across the Drillfield (causing many students to sport lab goggles with their outfits). To be honest, I have always liked cold weather.
I enjoy bundling up before going to class. Scarves. Snowball fights. Hot chocolate. What I like most about the cold weather is how one’s bed seems to increase exponentially in comfort, a seemingly mystical effect the frigid temperatures have on a person’s sleeping quarters.
Unfortunately, the winter does possess a dark side.
I feel it — maybe you do, too. Waves of apathy. Difficulty sleeping. Craving for carbohydrates and sugar. I even find my music tastes changing toward songs with more somber tones. Many of us — not just students — may be feeling the pull into the bitter clutches of winter depression.
Also known as seasonal affective disorder, winter depression is characterized by people feeling more depressed during the winter months than they normally would during the other seasons (sometimes SAD can, less frequently, refer to depression in the summer months).
This disorder should not be confused with the normal shift to low energy people have during the winter times — that is normal, and is justifiable from an evolutionary perspective. Aside from this, those experiencing SAD have various symptoms in addition to the ones stated earlier. They include things such as overeating and weight gain. But there’s more. Difficulty concentrating. Social withdrawal. Lack of pleasure.
One of the most popular theories explaining the cause of SAD is the lack of light as a result of increased cloud cover during the winter months. However, pursuing bright light therapy and serotonin drugs may not be plausible options.
Oftentimes, students may become so bogged down with work that their own personal health may be placed on the backburner. Who has time for bright light therapy or a doctor’s appointment? There’s work to be done and papers to be