Winter blues

Seattle Pacific University students cope with cold weather, long nights

David Armour, Staff Writer

The sunset over Puget Sound as seen from Sunset Hill Park near SPU in Ballard, Wash., taken at 5 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2023. (Finn Scott)

To many students, winter in Seattle is unappealing. Rain is frequent, clouds cover the sky, and the sun frequently goes down before 5 p.m. Despite these factors, many students at Seattle Pacific University attend classes in and around campus three months every year, doing what they can to find fulfillment and motivation despite the weather.

Seasonal Depression is a common ailment among students during the winter months and is often associated with depression-like symptoms such as oversleeping, difficulty with concentration or feelings of hopelessness. It is more common in the winter, though it occasionally happens during summer months as well.

For first year psychology student Bella Lisenby, the weather has caused some issues, but it has not affected her work.

“I can say that the weather definitely makes me feel a little under the weather, if that makes sense. That said, I like bundling up, hanging out with friends and all that, but I can definitely say that there’s some seasonal sadness when it’s cold and raining out all the time,” Lisenby said. “I feel like I’m still as motivated as ever to do my schoolwork, which of course means that I’ll find some excuses not to, but I’ll still make sure that it’s done, even if it takes a while.”

Biochemistry major and first year student Madeline Crawford believes that the cold creates a hindrance with leaving dorms.

“I guess that the weather’s made it more of a pain getting from class to class, since it makes it tricky to get from class to class without dealing with the cold,” Crawford said. “This is especially a problem in Ashton, where it takes a long time to get to classes from. It’s made everything feel more lethargic.”

Seattle has had a chilly, cloudy winter this year, and this is unlikely to change in the coming week, with precipitation expected alongside temperatures in the mid-40s.

Marley Denise Carroll, a first year cellular and molecular biology major, finds poor weather to be a significant demotivator.

“The darker and gloomier it is, the easier it is to just stay in bed and not work. A day like today makes you want to get out of bed and do work, so I’d say the improvement is beneficial in that way,” Campbell said. “The weather’s impacted my social life in much the same way. On the darker, colder days, I feel like I need time to rest and can’t go out and talk to people more.”

Many students find themselves dealing with a lack of motivation to go to class due to poor weather, and second year applied human biology major Asmaa Al-Awadi is no exception.

“It’s been very cold. There are days where I’ve had to stay at lab for a long time, and the weather makes me not want to go just because it’s very cold,” Al-Awadi said. “After a long day in the lab, you don’t want to go out in horrible weather. I don’t think it’s really impacted my social life, but the cold weather sometimes makes people want to stay in, and that might be a problem for some people.”

The cold and wet weather is taking its toll on many students, who will likely find it harder and harder to work up motivation to study or socialize when they can barely leave their dorms.

“It’s made it tricky to go anywhere, and it’s made it harder to get in contact with my friends from UW, and has made me consider more factors with those who I do plan to go out with,” Crawford said. “It limits the spectrum of where we can go and what we can do.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from seasonal depression, contact the Student Counseling Center immediately.