College students all over California have been infected with an extremely contagious and disabling virus, causing a chronic lack of focus and concentration. This virus is commonly known as “spring fever.”
The condition has been diagnosed by scientists, such as Richard Wessler, head of psychology at Pace University in New York, as being due to a reduction of outdoor activity during the winter months, making it difficult for many people to stay focused on tasks such as work or school, particularly during the first warm days of the season.
Other researchers such as Ralph Mistlberger, a professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University, feel that the abundance of light that is available during the spring months activates the hypothalamus, an almond-sized region in the brain, associated with regulating emotions. In an article published in Canadian Geographic Magazine he said, “We know that many places in the brain get information about light, and many of those places we know are involved in regulating emotions.”
Regardless of the causes, the effects reach many individuals, creating an atmosphere in which students wish to be outdoors rather than within the walls of the classroom. Wessler suggests three things to do to conquer spring fever.
First he suggests planning a weekend off to treat the illness. In an article of Bicycling magazine, he advises, “Treat spring fever like a cold or flu, and take a day off to indulge yourself. You’ll be twice as productive when you get back.”
Second, he suggests updating your home and study area for the season. He believes that when individuals are in a warm and spring-like atmosphere, including plants and outdoor scenes, they are more prepared to cope with the prospect of staying indoors.
Thirdly, he suggests spending time each day doing some of your regular activities outdoors. Some ideas include eating dinner on a patio rather than indoors, or going for a walk outside rather than staying inside a gym to workout. One Yuba College Student, Stacy Almy said, “In the springtime I always want to skip class to lie out in the sun. To stay focused, when I lie out I take projects with me like an art project or a text book.”
Wessler’s suggestions may help college students to stay in class during the height of spring fever season, allowing individuals to wait until school is out to indulge in the warm weather, thus successfully completing their classes.