Spring Fever

 Uncategorized
Mar 212005
 
Authors: Jennifer Johnson

Spring is finally here and with the warm weather and summer months on the way, some students may become distracted from staying focused on the last few months of school.

"'Spring Fever' is a term commonly associated with Spring Break, spring vacation and spring weather," said Jackie Nguyen, a senior staff counselor at the University Counseling Center. "During this time of year, there appears to be an energy surge in whatever form it takes, which may be a function of longer days and a lot more sunlight."

Nguyen said many aspects of our everyday life are governed by seasonal patterns, as well as our internal biological clock.

"When the seasons change and the amount of daylight increases, the retina naturally reacts to the first subtle signs in the amount of daylight," she said. "This reaction triggers hormonal changes, including an adjustment in melatonin, which is a hormone that affects sleep cycles and mood changes."

Nguyen said those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a specific type of recurring depressive illness that manifests in an annual pattern, may be more susceptible to these changes.

"During the long dark winter months the body naturally produces more melatonin and for people prone to seasonal affective disorder, all that melatonin triggers a winter depression," she said. "In spring, when melatonin production decreases, so does depression, so typically when there is more daylight people will have more energy and sleep a little less."

These seasonal adjustments and changes may also have an effect on students' daily activities, which could make it difficult to concentrate on school.

"I definitely notice fewer students in class when the weather is warmer," said Melissa Mullins, a junior art major. "I'd say for the first few nice days classes are usually smaller because it makes it difficult to go to class when instead it is nicer to stay outside and play games or just relax."

For Mullins however, it is easier to wake up and stay motivated for class when it is warmer.

"I'd rather go out in the sunshine then have to worry about driving and walking to class in the cold and snow," she said. "Although it can still be difficult for me to concentrate and sit through class when it is nice out, I enjoy walking around campus more when it is warmer."

Mullins suggests that students find ways to do their normal day activities and still enjoy the weather outside.

"If you have to study, take your books outside and read. If you need to go to the gym, go for a walk outside instead," she said. "One way my friends and I found that really works is taking a lunch break between classes and eating outside."

Chris Wingerberg, a junior restaurant and resort management major, said in order to stay focused on school and daily activities during the warmer days, he thinks about how summer is on the way and looks forward to the break.

"It was difficult going to classes the week before Spring Break," he said. "It was nicer out and there was a lot of partying going on.

Wingerberg said he still managed to go to all his classes, but one of his classes the week before Spring Break because he knew he still had stuff to get done.

"I think that in order for students to avoid the distraction of warm weather, they just need to make the best of their free time and weekends," he said.

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