It’s a beast we’re all well too acquainted with; the winter blues, the cabin fevers—the shit that Bon Iver makes a living off of. It bares the clinical name of Seasonal Affective Disorder, S.A.D. for short, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. These grueling Toronto winters are corrosive to a productive learning environment, and certainly detrimental to peak mental and physical well being. No other program is victimized by the polar plague as much as the English Department –– as these students bravely persevere into the 12th month of the sickness, with no cure in sight.
“I just feel like there’s this enormous grey cloud following me around,” says third-year English student and Handmaid’s Tale fanfiction author, Emilio Atkinson, “I see all my friends in other programs become themselves again in the spring, but I just can’t shake this cloud off.” As wild as this claim seems, it’s true. While his LifeSci friends were lounging in Trinity Bellwoods and posting pictures from VELD, Emilio found it difficult to leave his winter routine of wearing layered black outfits whilst staring out the window of a Kensington café in between paragraphs of The Bell Jar. “It’s just who I am now, I have to wear it on my sleeve.”
We urge our readers to fear not for their own vulnerability to S.A.D. this winter, as the university administration has taken notice of the Lana Del Rey quotes scribbled on bathroom stall walls, and has installed a plan to counteract the epidemic. Starting February, the school will install designated spaces in every campus library, where students can sit in absolute darkness on beanbags, listen to “lo-fi chill beats to study to 24/7”, and just ball their eyes out like the sprinkler system was activated. “The problem that we’ve noticed is that these students are somewhat trapped,” speculates UofT’s Administrator of Health & Wellness and living oxymoron Olivia Manet, “They have nowhere on campus to just sit and let everything out in a healthy manner. I’ll be honest, we haven’t quite figured out why their so emotionally, physically, and financially drained, but we’re getting to the bottom of it.”
While the English students want to be optimistic about this development, they have their reservations. They believe the university is shelling out major capital to install environments that they already dwell in at home. “It’s nice that they’re making an effort, and that they’re even aware of it in the first place, but is this really the best thing they could’ve came up with?”