It is officially December and winter's chilly air is in full swing, forcing people to dig out their winter coats and scarves. A sense of dread is especially prominent in Athens as students prepare for frigid walks across campus on top of the stress of finals week.
Many, such as Lauren Strouth, a freshman studying business, face the bitter cold with an optimistic mindset. Instead of focusing on the stressful, cold end of the semester, Strouth counts down to spending the holiday season at home with her friends and family.
“I just kind of try to think of the fact that Christmas is in less than a month and I watch my little Christmas movies and cuddle up or I go to Starbucks,” Strouth said.
As a first-year student, it’s not always easy for Strouth to keep a positive outlook on gloomy weather as she dreads icey, potentially dangerous walks up Jeff Hill, a common route for her, and freezing, rainy days.
Like many other students, Strouth finds study spots much closer to her room on South Green to avoid long walks in the bitter cold.
Upperclassmen like Lorena Jevnikar, a senior studying geology, have mastered their approach to make the best of gloomy weather. According to Jevnikar, the best way to combat winter blues is to be surrounded by a good support system.
“The first year that I came here, I didn’t know anybody here so I was pretty solo,” Jevnikar said, “I’ve gone through my different classes, I’ve met really great people and they’ve kind of kept me out of seasonal depression.”
Jevnikar also takes advantage of indoor study spots such as the labs in Clippinger, which houses OU’s geology department, and, especially with finals coming up, spends time working in study groups. Overall, Jevnikar is thankful that the winters in Athens aren’t as severe as the ones from her hometown in Cleveland.
“The winters aren’t nearly as bad as up north,” Jevnikar said. “I really enjoy the fall time when it’s sweater weather and you don’t have a bulky coat on.”
That sentiment is shared by Sophie Pilarski, a junior studying marketing, who grew up through the severe winters of Pittsburgh. Unlike many other students, however, Pilarski does not hate the cold weather.
“I mean, I don’t really mind (the cold),” Pilarski said. “I definitely like being somewhere where it does get colder over the winter because it just feels right to me.”
Since OU prides itself on the beautiful landscapes of the campus, many students are having difficulty finding other, warmer ways to spend their time. Many students resort to their favorite indoor study spaces and instant meals in their dorms and homes.
As for Pilarski, she spends the winter months studying in Alden Library as opposed to her favorite outside spots.
Pilarski’s advice for first-year students to have fun indoors is to spend time checking out the different restaurants and shops on Court Street, where Christmas lights and festive decorations line the street.
Some other great ways for students to have fun on campus indoors are by cheering on fellow Bobcats at basketball and hockey games, taking fitness classes and working out at Charles J. Ping Recreation Center.
“You just kind of have to persevere through it and, you know, finish the semester strong,” said Jevnikar.