It’s that time again. Cuddle Season, a season where cold weather has you grabbing for the covers, snuggling with your loved one and drinking some hot cocoa. Yet with this hazy post-holiday joy comes the dreary, gloomy months where loneliness kicks in, and depression wreaks havoc on your personal and academic life. Depression is classified as a psychological problem. It affects 11 percent of college students in the United States. Depression disturbs and annihilates self-confidence while causing anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Although it can be treated through drugs and therapy, students who are affected by it often refuse to clinically diagnose it and try to work through it on their own. Due to the pervasiveness of depression in a person’s life during the winter months, academia tends to decline. As work begins to pile up and overwhelm us, the winter months begin to feel uninviting and we hole up without motivation and focus. According to a report conducted by The Wall Street Journal, students have recently been requesting extra time for papers and exams due to depression. The next question to ask is whether this is ethical.Though mental illness is a serious matter, I feel that depression should not compromise one’s ability to pursue their academic endeavors unless supported by a doctor or disability services. It should be diagnosed to serve as not only a validity of what is going on but also to help the person get through their depression. Not granting extensions on assignments or exams can actually motivate a person with depression to feel better. Doing well academically can build self-confidence and work through personal problems and even depression eventually. There are many ways to fight mental illness during the winter months. Here are some alternative methods so that you do not fall back into a winter slump. Here are some things that worked for me:During my freshman year, I suffered from depression and anxiety. I felt that I had not found people I could be close to, had done poorly academically and did not know what I wanted for myself . I took the step to create a support system for myself, acquiring a COACH through the UCI Counseling Center and a plan . I began doing yoga and meditation that calmed my anxiety. Yoga releases endorphins but also increases relaxation. Another thing that helps is simply getting out of the house . Dress cozy and try doing your homework at the campus library or Starbucks, just making sure you are around people. See your academic counselor if you feel like the load you are taking during this quarter is too much and find out how to manage it.Although depression — even when not clinically diagnosed — is serious, I feel that there are many ways to defeat it. If for any reason you feel that you are becoming depressed, see a counselor and create a support system.
Rashmi Guttal is a third-year international studies major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.