Being in Illinois, you never know what type of weather you’re getting. It doesn’t matter how many times you check the forecast, it always ends up surprising you in some way. Whether it’s 70 degrees in December, snow in May or summers that peak at 104 degrees, the weather here is nothing short of extremely confusing. The only consistency in the weather is how cold it is during January and February in Illinois.
Winter in Illinois is very cold, but being from the northern suburbs of Chicago and coming to Macomb; Macomb is a million times colder than the Windy City and the surrounding suburbs. Personally, I blame it on the open corn fields and the randomly placed hills throughout Macomb. There are no buildings preventing the wind from slapping snow in your face every five seconds. Even around campus, the winter months show no mercy to the students at Western Illinois University.
You haven’t experienced winter in Macomb, Illinois if you haven’t experienced the bone-chilling wind that creates snow tornadoes in Q lot, specifically, the pathway between Bayliss/Henninger and Tanner hall. As a freshman, rushing to class was hindered by these small, windy snow tornadoes. Now that Bay/Hen is offline, students have become accustomed to a new hindrance: black ice. Black ice is one of the most terrifying things you can come across when in a rush to class. It’s not something you see coming. One wrong step and you’ll be seeing your foot flying above your head and then, boom, you’re on the ground. Your back is wet and your backpack is smushed. Then, the walk of shame to class, covered in black slush is nothing less than embarrassing. One bright side of the Macomb winters was sneaking away with one of the cafeteria trays and going sledding down the Bayliss and Henninger slope or making snow angels while the snow piles on top of you.
Aside from the embarrassment of falling around campus, the winter has more effects on students than just physical pain. Constant cold weather and dreariness creates a feeling of negativity and laziness for some students. According to the Kim Foundation, many individuals tend to stay inside and detach from normal activities during these colder months. It’s very similar to hibernation, we as humans experience a sort of “hibernation mode” as well. This makes it extremely difficult for some students to stay motivated with their school work and creates difficulty in getting up for some of their in-person classes, and eventually takes a spiral towards their spring semester grades.
The best thing that students can do during these winter months is staying productive. Yes, because of quarantine it makes it more difficult to go out and be proactive, but keeping safety in mind, individuals can manage to get out and do some things. By being productive and keeping busy, being persistent with getting homework done and trying new hobbies, students can keep themselves out of the winter blues and stray away from “hibernation mode.”