As a former student of the Academy of Bard College at Simon's Rock, this is my second year on the Simon's Rock campus. Although the Academy very often partakes in many of the weird habits and mass hysteria closely associated with any Simon's Rock lifestyle, we were separated enough to view and mentally record the happenings of the college students without a full investment, but with a personal understanding.
That being said, I have found myself, over the past few months of “college-life” continuing that mindset of frequently remarking on the trends of the college, as a student of it. This is something to which I haven't any authority and yet, will likely continue to do. So, on the off chance you do think my analysis makes sense to you, I'm going to write about it. With this, I hope to institute any changes I might be able to, or maybe you'll just find this fun. Either way, read on!
One of the recurring themes of Rocker-culture is the Winter Slump. For anyone viewing the student body from the outside, it might seem as though all the students continue as usual during the coldest months on campus, but from the inside, this is anything but true. It’s hard to put your finger on it, exactly, but during the Winter there is this noticeable decrease in the mood of the student body. When it's cold, everyone becomes a tad sadder in general, group functions are less frequently attended (if they don't offer ACE credit or pizza), and if you are sad, it's really difficult to pull yourself out of the dis ease that tends to hang in the air on campus.
I cannot make any specific judgments as to why this happens, but it has, the same, each of the two years I have been here, and will likely continue to affect you until the snow starts to melt. So, I am going to offer my advice from someone unqualified, who also feels the same thing.
First of all, make sure you have the right schedule for you right now. I, more than most, have a tendency to keep busy all the time, but during a period when there is just a little more resistance to your daily routine, it's imperative to keep a schedule that fills your time and sense of purpose but doesn't overwhelm you. You want to be able to keep going and pursue the things that make college life worth it for you a little more than usual, so make time for that as you plan for what your time is going to look like.
Don't be afraid to decide if something is too much. It's better to do this sooner rather than later, but it is still an okay time in the semester to let people know you can't sustain all the activities you have lined up. Just be upfront and honest about the situation and, in most cases, people will understand.
On the other hand, make sure your schedule isn't too open-ended. If you have a ton of unstructured time it can be easy to succumb to the slump. So, even if you just put time into the management of your homework, you can add a little structure, which can make you feel confident about your ability to continue through the day. Take pride and find purpose in that confidence. Allow yourself to feel good about the improvement you have created in your own life.
Create a schedule that has the things that make the slump better. As you go through your day, notice anything that lifts your mood from it lowered state and write it down. Building your free time around those things and putting more emphasis on them can help you when you are feeling worse than usual.
I, for one, schedule a lot of time into working on The Cad since I know it is something that feels meaningful to me. For someone else, it could be more time for friends to reduce the feeling of isolation in your dorm room. For another person it could be going to more lectures or events around campus so they can feel a sense of satisfaction from having learned something new or having had a unique experience.
The next thing to do is be aware that the winter slump isn't just you. Many, many people on this campus have felt just the same and will continue to do so. It is okay to want to talk about it with a friend and still be scared, but the likelihood is, they are probably feeling it too. Having an open conversation can help you figure out your thoughts, alieving a little bit of the isolated feeling cold can cause.
The last thing I'm going to say, because either your mother or Doctor Piraino would be mad if I didn't, is to make sure you sleep and eat healthy food to keep your mind clear. It's good to have times where you allow yourself to a kind of food that makes you happier instead of healthier, but everything in moderation. Keep in mind that protein and vitamins are going to help you think and remain energized during a hard time. Sleep will also help that. I know that a good ninety percent of the Simon's Rock students have a grave aversion to sleep and that me telling you to sleep will not help, but I'm going to do it anyway. Please sleep. It helps emotional or academic well being.
In general, be nice to yourself, work and adapt to the slump and be aware of how it is affecting your mood and everyday life. Allow yourself to do what you need. Focus on giving your life your own structure and reward yourself for following through on goals.
To finish: I hope your slump gets better and wish you all a good semester!
Co-founder and co-editor of the Weekly Cad.