In Northern Indiana, a good portion of the weeks between early January and early April are spent shuffling to class beneath a blanket of gray clouds whilst attempting to step arounds piles of slush leftover from last week’s snow.
It can be a dismal prospect—one that makes most of us consider holing up in our dorm rooms for the rest of the winter with coffee and Netflix. Believe it or not, however, one of the best ways to beat the cold-weather blues is to get out and get involved on campus.
Based on my own experience, I want to highlight a few of the best places to spend your time during the winter months.
Obviously I’m partial to this one because I work in my university theatre, but hear me out.
Theatre is one of those areas that requires people with a vast array of interests—not only performers. In my time there I’ve worked alongside students with majors in English, education, writing, social work, engineering, physics, math, art, and a long list of other things. The beauty of theatre work is its ability to pull together people of different interests in the pursuit of one goal.
The other beautiful thing about the theatre is that most of the work is done inside, which is nice in the winter, especially if you live in a colder climate. And I can promise you that almost every theatre there is needs more help than it’s getting. It’s exciting, mathematical, and artistic work. Who knows, you may even make some of the best friends you’ve ever had!
Serving others is a sure-fire way to pull you out of that mid-January slump—or any slump, for that matter. There’s something about putting our focuses somewhere else that makes the little problems of our lives fade into the background.
This can include anything from volunteering at a second-hand store or painting walls to serving at a homeless shelter. Most campuses have opportunities for students to volunteer nearby, especially if your school is located in a town or city. More than likely there’s an office devoted to off-campus or service work. It shouldn’t take you much detective work to find it. Once you’re there, ask for a list of nearby service opportunities.
Many schools have specific clubs and activities devoted towards winter pursuits such as skiing, snowboarding, etc. Sometimes it’s fun to get involved in something new, especially when it’s a sport or activity you’ve never tried before. It will give you the opportunity to interact with students you may not come in contact with on a daily basis.
Campus Programs and Offices
Often winter can be a great time to become a part of student led organizations on campus, such as Student Development or the Office of Intercultural Programs. The names and number of such organizations vary from campus to campus, but getting on the board of one can be a great way to make new friends and influence goings-on at your university. As students, each of us has the right to have our voice heard in an area that we’re passionate about. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.
I have nothing against Netflix, trust me, but this winter, perhaps it’d be nice to put that on the back-burner for a while and try something new.