Words by Kiana Duncan

Summer in Kent is beautiful. It’s fresh, it’s romantic, and everything is happening. Squirrels are out, frollicking adorably. Fast forward five months later and Kent looks like a post-apocalyptic, ice age, ghost town. Where did everyone go? How is there this much snow? Did Kent get moved to Canada? And where did the squirrels go?

Kentarctica is a dark place, but it doesn’t have to be. If winter bums you out, or if you just get bored from being inside so much, fear not. I have slightly more experienced advice to give you:

  • Go to the Gym. LOL. Sorry, it’s just that sometimes, I’m hilarious. Most of my winter means sitting around, doing nothing, and honestly, that can get so boring. I can’t believe I just said that. You all know what I mean. Even going to the gym for a half hour can get your blood flowing and give you some energy. Plus, an excuse for more Netflix later.
  • Try eating healthier. Believe it or not (and usually I don’t), eating a salad actually does make you feel better once in awhile. When you feel a little healthier, you don’t feel as bleh and have just a bit more energy to tackle your homework.
  • Try tea instead of coffee. This made a huge difference for me. As I’ve said before, I’ve had a major coffee problem in the past. While it can be fun (What did I do 3 hours ago? I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I did everything.), it can also make it difficult to go to sleep, concentrate, and have the drive to do anything once you come crashing back down. So wean yourself off coffee like the little crack addict you are and marvel at the results. Besides, vanilla almond tea with honey isn’t so bad. *sulks*
  • But still indulge once in awhile. Don’t put yourself on a diet per se. Because when you do that, you want to eat everything. I know I’ll eat mozzarella sticks and wings, even when I’m really not hungry, just because my friends are or because I’m at Quaker Steak. But save those meals for when you’re actually hungry and craving it because then it’ll taste better, and you can actually enjoy the food coma afterwards.
  • Seek help if you need it. Season Affective Disorder is more common than you think, and just because your ultra-religious family doesn’t believe you could possibly be sad about anything, just remember—you know what’s best for you. There’s no shame in talking to someone about it. If you’re feeling down about anything, call 330-672-2208 and set up an appointment at the Counseling and Human Development center in White Hall. You don’t need to have a disorder to talk, and they’re super nice, I promise.
  • Speed dating/casual dating. If you’re feeling like you want to get out of your shell or you’ve been cooped up not talking to anyone for too long, meeting new people, even as friends, could help a ton. Kent State puts on great speed dating events and giving a try at Tinder can be fun (approach with caution. Seriously, don’t you dare go out with that sketchy guy who calls himself an ‘entrepreneur,’ Sarah. I’m watching you).
  • Invest in some adult coloring books or knitting and have some relaxation methods for all your winter downtime. When I’m at work, I like to embrace my inner kindergartner and break out the coloring books, or my knitting and embrace my inner grandma. I don’t act my age. My point is, keeping your mind busy helps you feel more active when there’s four feet of snow outside.
  • Try a new series on Netflix. Speaking of ways to avoid Kentarctica, I see you over there. Yes, you: watching “Law and Order” season 16 for the fifth time. Shit, that’s a mirror. Anyway, give a new movie a try or start watching a new series. “Making a Murderer” is pretty great, or if you need something that’s simply stupid and funny, my guilty pleasure is “Family Guy.” There are lists of great Netflix watches all over the Internet just for your enjoyment. Go nuts.
  • Work in lively places. Like I said, being in your room for 20 hours a day can drain you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your homework done. If you can brave the walk, a busy atmosphere can help you feel a little more lively and productive. Also, see my personal drink recommendations below in case you pass a coffee shop along the way. (Yes, I know I said I gave up coffee, but we can’t all be perfect, Tiffany!)
    Tree City: Butterbeer
    Starbucks: Cupcake Frappuccino
    Jazzman’s: Frozen Salted Caramel Latte
  • Join a fun club. Not all clubs have to be resume boosters. Try something fun to get you out. We have a Supernatural Club, TV2, and fencing. Plus, non-academic clubs are a great break from homework.
  • Try baking or a cook-off. My personal hands down favorite idea I’ve always wanted to try is a Ramen noodle cook-off. So grab some friends, some ingredients from Eastway, and bring me some cupcakes. (Johnson 131, I’ll leave it unlocked.)
  • Go pet cats in Akron. My favorite thing to do all year is go to One of a Kind Pets in Akron and spend hours snuggling lil’ ol’ kitties. They’re so cute, and no one judges you.
  • Consider adopting a dorm cat (or fish, you coward). If you’re anything like me, you can’t just pet the kitties—you have to bring them home, too. I adopted the most purrfect little girl and kept her in my dorm for three days last semester before my parents took her home at break. Wait, Marissa what do you mean I can’t encourage students to break the rules? (Do it anyway.)
  • Understand that you deserve a break. In the winter, it’s easy to feel cooped up. Personally, when I feel caged in my room, I go ham on homework and stress out until I cry uncontrollably over a pint of ice cream. Sometimes, if you take a step back, you will realize that you genuinely do deserve a break. Take a hot shower, curl up to a good movie, and don’t ruin your ice cream with tears, honey.

Whether you’re feeling the cabin fever or the sophomore slump, just remember: only six more weeks of winter—maybe.

If you have a topic you’d like to hear more about, tweet me at @strawberrykilee!