The spring semester has officially begun at NYU for students who had their first day of classes on Monday. The bookstore is bursting as people line up to make their purchases, the intersection of West 4th Street and Washington Square East is back to being a nightmare of students sprinting across sidewalks and chatter has erupted in dining halls once again. It is usually expected that with the new semester — and the new year — comes a refreshed attitude to tackle obstacles such as courses, internships and research projects. However, students’ motivations during the spring semester will never measure up to that of the fall.
Winter break is supposed to serve as a break for students to recuperate between semesters and return to NYU reinvigorated. Yet, the month between the fall and spring semesters only contributes to the low spirits that emerge in the spring. January is believed to contain the most depressing day of the year: Blue Monday. This day falls on the third Monday of every January and was deemed, without scientific merit, to be the bleakest day of the year. The argument states that January marks the end of the holiday season, the weight of the impending new year and the peak of harsher weather. And unfortunately for everyone, Blue Monday along with the culmination of three dreary weeks falls right around the same time spring classes start. While the spring semester starts during such a somber month, the fall semester follows three months of vacation, which features summer-like climates for most NYU students. Summer vacation is characterized by nicer weather, nights spent with friends and family, fewer responsibilities and, most importantly, more time to recover. While summer can still be a trigger for seasonal depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder is at its peak during the winter.
Even though the spring semester brings new classes and opportunities, it can still feel repetitive. Students don’t make significant academic progress and can feel stuck in a rut. A semester at NYU is exhausting due to the lack of sleep and constant stress. The end of fall finals feels like a great accomplishment after copious amounts of work. However, the pride of tackling that first semester after summer can waver when break ends and students realize that a new semester will begin and the laborious cycle will begin anew. The start of the spring semester is a painful reminder that a student is only halfway done with the school year. Additionally, the stress from the fall semester tends to carry over to the new spring semester because a month of break, for those who do not take January term classes, is not enough time to recuperate.
The spring semester follows a bleak and short break that carries over negative emotions. While the fall is favorable over the spring, NYU students will return to the grind and continue to work hard. If motivation threatens to waver, remember that spring break and summer are coming up.
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Email Paola Nagovitch at [email protected].