There’s a strange affliction that emerges on college campuses this time of year. Its symptoms make the outdoors irresistible — and studying near impossible.
The growing throngs of students on the University of Colorado’s Farrand Field are a sure sign of an outbreak.
“I would say I absolutely get spring fever,” junior biology student Drew Carter said Monday. “That includes day dreaming, imagining that I was running with the squirrels on Norlin, etc.”
“Spring fever” can be described as a nervous energy build-up resulting from last week’s taste of spring break freedom and the pressures of the semester’s looming end
“Yes, it’s definitely painful,” senior Brianna Bates said as she turned down a friend’s offer to go for a hike Monday. “That’s the hardest part — to come back from break and it’s cram time.”
The struggle to stay focused during spring semester’s final weeks is not limited to students.
“I guess I always find the last third of the term to be a bit of a challenge to stay focused,” philosophy professor Chris Heathwood said. “The semester is long, and the class has run its course and the weather is nice.”
Dr. Karen Raforth, director of CU’s counseling and psychological services, said that while she does not classify it as “spring fever,” she has noted some psychological effects stemming from the onset of spring.
“We’re all getting used to how early Daylight Savings Time came. The physical change with the light and the brain; many people feel lifted with the light,” Raforth said.
She stressed that spring does not always bring about positive psychological impacts.
“For some people it becomes more difficult if they’ve been struggling with depression; they feel even more on the outs,” Raforth said. “Others come back (from break) and they’re behind and they’re under pressure and they’re thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this.'”
Raforth said it’s important for overwhelmed students not to think of everything all at once, but to make a list and take it one step at a time.
Many CU faculty members and students have developed their own coping strategies.
“I try to keep my own energy up. Try to keep classes interesting and discussions interesting,” Heathwood said. “If I stay into it, they will too.”
“I just lock myself somewhere away from people,” Bates said. “And I spend five hours the day before (my first) class online and just thinking about my courses and stuff.”