Spring Break is over for most college students everywhere (a moment of silence as my last break before the real world comes to an end, I’ll be okay I swear) Buttttttt this means the weather is starting to get warm again, which means what? That’s right! Procrastination! Students are eager to get outside and play around or just sit and absorb as much sun as possible while seemingly putting their studies on hold, but I want to argue today the nice weather is actually a God-send for college students and their studies.
First I should explain what “nice” weather means in the state of Wisconsin. Nic
e includes a day where it isn’t snowing or raining for once, obviously, but it also means the temperature is anything above 40 degrees. Call us crazy but that is short-wearing weather for us and it’s absolutely beautiful. People in the south will be bundled up when it hits 56 degrees and we’ll be playing sand/snow volleyball while setting up the grill to have a day! We deal with some of the most frigid temperatures throughout the winter so 40 degrees in the spring is our new 75 degrees.
But for many people the nice weather causes us to temporarily forget about our studies until we’re half way through a game of ultimate frisbee and suddenly it hits us and our heart drops. But the nice weather can actually help us in more ways than you think and the first way comes with Vitamin D.
UV Radiation Helps Produce Vitamin D
I learned a lot in my nutri sci class a year ago but one thing that stuck with me was our body’s ability to produce its own Vitamin D with ultraviolet radiation. Why is this important for college students? Many students suffer seasonal depression in the winter and studies have shown a strong correlation between seasonal depression and Vitamin D levels.
The studies indicate people who suffer seasonal depression generally also have low levels of Vitamin D. Now doesn’t this make sense? You ever try to do homework or study in the winter and just feel down and out of it? The lack of direct time under the sun in the winter causes us to be slightly deficient in Vitamin D and puts us in a bad mood. Needless to say, once the weather gets nicer outside we spend more time directly under the sun, raise our natural Vitamin D levels, and feel happier which improves our work ethic too.
We may not realize it because we aren’t spending as much time on our work, but because we feel better work becomes slightly more tolerable. Not only are we able to get out and increase our Vitamin D levels, but we can also now exercise outside!
Personally I hate running on treadmills in the winter; I can’t readily adjust my speed, I feel like my feet are made of lead, and it hurts my knees so my running usually takes a hit in the winter, unfortunately. But yesterday I poked my head outside, saw a friend running, felt guilty about my lack of exercise, and went for a run.
I hadn’t felt energetic or motivated to do work all day. After my run I felt better about myself and managed to get everything I had on my to-do list done in no time. I know I’ve talked about the mental and physical benefits of exercising in the winter before, but even I have to admit it isn’t the easiest thing to make your way to a gym in the dead of winter. With nice weather you can just lace up your running shoes, step outside, and start running. The evidence doesn’t lie, exercising improves our cognitive abilities and academic performance. So now when you’re stressed with your work you can go outside for a quick run and return with a more clear state of mind and be ready to rock it!
But my favorite thing about the nicer weather is probably the most obvious, especially if you’ve read most of my posts: you get a break from doing work!
Break From Work
I’m a big promoter of educated break taking. Nobody knows your mental and physical capacities better than you and to me it doesn’t make much sense to study for eight hours straight. I know this is much harder in the winter because you can’t actively go outside to distract yourself and then you’re held captive by your studies in a small room. With the nice weather you now don’t have that excuse.
Studies do show trying to focus on something for prolonged periods of time is actually counterproductive and brief breaks improve attention and performance. Here is your new excuse to avoid studying! But I really shouldn’t say avoid studying because it’s actually ENHANCING your studying.
So don’t look at the nice weather as a hindrance to your studying, embrace it and use it to help you study! Even if that means taking your notes or computer outside with you, get out, raise those Vitamin D levels, take a study break, and let your mind reset a little so you can come back and ace that exam or paper.