3 Ways to Beat Winter Quarter Blues
If you ask a student on the quarter system which quarter they enjoy the least (Fall, Winter or Spring), there’s a high chance they’ll say “Winter quarter.” Many folks love Fall quarter because it allows them to reunite with college friends after a long summer, or because they miss school and feel eager to begin a new academic year (what better time to set a year-long goal such as getting a 4.0 or leading a new student organization?)
Others love Spring quarter because of the nice weather, or because school is nearly finished for the year and summer is calling out to them. It’s rare to find a student whose favorite quarter is Winter since most are still trying to recover from a lack of sleep in Fall quarter, the weather is often dreary and wet (although I personally love these conditions), and for some reason, classes just feel harder in Winter quarter.
Now that it’s January, quarter system students are getting ready to begin their Winter quarters, whether they look forward to it or not. But you don’t have to let Winter quarter blues get in the way of your mood or your academic success — here are three ways to beat the Winter quarter struggle:
1. Change up your schedule.
Do you always end up taking early morning classes, even though you’re not a morning person? Or are you tired of taking all evening classes and waking up too late in the day to get your homework done? This winter quarter, try to break up your scheduling norms and look for classes that meet at a new time. This could be as simple as choosing afternoon classes instead of 8 A.M. ones, or even scheduling your classes so that every other day looks different (for instance, instead of picking classes that finish by noon every day of the week, maybe you’ll create a schedule where Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes take place in the late morning and Tuesday-Thursday classes take place in the evening).
Changing up your typical schedule might help take the boredom out of Winter quarter, at least by avoiding the monotony of having classes at the same time of day every day.
2. Find a new recipe for lunch.
Lunch becomes lackluster when you’re packing the same foods every day (pasta, rice, more pasta and more rice). We all know that students don’t have endless time to spend preparing food to pack for a trip up to campus, but it’s also true that food makes a large impact on one’s mood. Winter quarter is the perfect time to put some more energy back into your meals and try out something new. There are numerous inexpensive recipe books and websites loaded with student-friendly meal ideas, so why not choose a couple recipes that interest you and try them out?
You’d be surprised at how your mood will change on a given day if you’re excited about your lunchtime meal, versus feeling no excitement for your 4th day in a row eating tomato soup (yes, all you have to do is pour it into your Tupperware container straight from the bottle it came in, but having a little variety in your lunch is worth the five minutes it takes to chop up some veggies for a fresh salsa you can pack with some tortillas on the side). Pack yourself a lunch you can look forward to on the misty, dark days in January and February, and Winter quarter will feel a bit more vibrant.
3. Take a lighter course load.
Still exhausted from the 20 units you took in Fall quarter? Taking a break from above-average course loads could brighten your Winter quarter a bit. Instead of taking an extra class, try doing something self-care related with your time. Maybe you’ll join a 0-unit swimming class or try your hand at arm-knitting (it’s relaxing!)
Much of what makes Winter quarter feel heavy or sluggish comes from stress, so easing your stress levels will undoubtedly make for a more pleasant Winter quarter.
Alternatively, if you tend to feel bored in the wintertime, consider challenging yourself with an extra course this term. Of course, you’ll still want to make sure you have a plan for success (and a means of staying focused in the sleepy months of freezing temperatures and cloudy days). Some students feel energized by a challenge, which is great. Another class may just keep you busy enough to power through Winter quarter without having to remind yourself it’s Winter quarter.
These three suggestions will help spice up any bland quarter by adding some variety to your life. College campuses offer plenty of events and programs in Winter as well to keep you busy and entertained, even on the cold and windy days. Of course, if you are one of those students who loves the Winter quarter for whatever reason, it’s time to rejoice — the time is here!