Seasonal Affective Disorders Plagues College Students at Large

Our beloved Ramapo, alongside the rest of the world, has kissed goodbye the remains of summer as of Nov. 2, 2013 when clocks were changed and daylight saving time ended. Not only have our days become colder, but they are also now darker. By five o’clock the sun goes down and we are left in the shadows fall and winter welcome us with.

The majority of us have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a result of the gloomy weather fall and winter bring, creating frequent mood swings. Although this is an actual diagnosis of a form of depression, it seems that the symptoms of the disorder are found throughout college campuses, particularly once the clocks are turned.

The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, are as follows according to change in appetite, restlessness and irritability, anxiety, loss of energy, headaches, loss of interest in hobbies, sleeping longer hours, weight gain, feelings of hopelessness and guilt. As previously stated, these symptoms are a result of gloomy weather and dim lighting.

In reference to us poor college students, not only do we feel the effects of shorter days and chilly temperatures, but both overlap with testing weeks and heavier workloads. I know myself that at the beginning of the fall semester I am energized and ready to go. My attention is on point in class, and my life feels perfectly balanced, between getting schoolwork done, having a social life and a job.

Once the weather starts to get cooler, however, I find that we gradually become sluggish. Warm covers become our best friend, a popular catchphrase heard around campus is “I’ll do it later,” and socializing four times a week becomes a chore tacked onto a to-do list because who has the energy for it really?

While we may not be clinically diagnosed with the exact disorder, college students definitely take a hit from the change in weather and time. Dropping temperatures in the a.m. can enable the infamous debate between rolling out of bed for class and staying loyal to our dear beds, while the early setting sun makes us feel time constricted.

A loss of energy leads to focusing less on assignments, resulting in suffering grades. At the same time, gloomy weather leads to fewer plans, which leads to a lack of desire to participate in social affairs. A good portion of the fall/winter season is spent inside our dorm rooms and beds, because who really wants to venture out into the cold for a three- hour party? Seasonal Affective Disorder seems to be leaning less toward a medical issue and more toward normality.

It seems as though this year, Mother Nature decided to skip the transition from summer to fall, and teeter on the borderlines of fall and winter. It is no surprise that these symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are emerging early. As we all prepare for harsh weather and heavy homework loads, let us remember that we are all in this together – one degree at a time. So bundle up, have coffee at the ready and never underestimate the power of a desk lamp.