(Not) an Ode to Andover Spring

If someone asked the Andover population what their favorite season was, it would come as no surprise to me that spring would be ranked pretty high. Whether it be the newfound ability to lawn or simply the fact that the spring marks the end of the Winter Term, spring offers students the option to spend more time outside and enjoy a walk outside of the dorm room that they have been in for at least ten hours. Those are the reasons most people give to justify their love for spring and Spring Term at Andover. 

But in the last two years, I have only had one feeling about spring: it sucks. While  I could find multiple reasons to defend this claim, I’ll begin by sticking to just the top one: seasonal depression.

Now, you might think that I am being a little too unfair here, but I would beg to differ. When defined, seasonal depression often exclusively refers to a more severe form of what many call the winter blues. After hearing this, it is easy to claim that spring is the season that one longs for as a way to ground themselves, to bring them back to vibrancy. Spring is the season of life, where flowers bloom in a display of vitality and animals come back to activity. How could that ever be depressing? In reality, I would argue that the constantly shifting weather, the allergies, and the pressure to conform to everyone else’s love for spring exacerbates the very winter blues you are trying to overcome. 

Spring weather is nothing short of ridiculous. And yes, I understand that this week was a little monotonous, varying within the same four degrees, but more often than not, no two days are ever the same when it comes to spring in Andover. Last week proves this very point; within two days the weather went from 85 degrees and sunny to 50 degrees and rainy. Every day brings about a new weather challenge to deal with, and before I leave my dorm, I have the additional task of genuinely thinking about what to wear. On Friday, if I throw on sweatpants and a t-shirt I might be sweltering, but on the Tuesday of the same week, I might have been freezing. Along with the weather, spring is notorious for its high pollen count, triggering a series of allergic reactions simply from being outside. That takes a toll on you after a while. The flowers are no longer stunning, the sun is no longer bright. They are just nuisances that serve as reminders for another couple months of coughing, sneezing, and itching.

But that’s not all. Spring signals the last term of the school year. This means burnout, anticipation for Summer Break, and an overall lack of motivation. After spending seven months trying to impress teachers, you get tired. You no longer feel the need to put in as much work as you may have in the fall term, especially if your efforts weren’t paying off in the past two terms. You feel annoyed at yourself because though you may want to finish off the year on a good note, you can not get your feet to move to make it to your next class on time, and your fingers to revise the essay that is worth 50 percent of your grade. You feel disappointed and miserable and tired. But everyone else seems to be happier than ever. They talk about waking up to a clear blue sky. They talk about the sense of rejuvenation and energy they get, as the world seems to come alive after a long, cold winter. It’s hard to find acceptance with your dismal feelings when the world around you seems to be telling you that you are not supposed to feel like that. You are supposed to be relaxed, they say, content, even delighted. But this isn’t true for a lot of people, and framing spring as the season that mandates joy conveys the idea that people shouldn’t feel as miserable as they do. If they do, it is their fault. Which makes things worse if you’re already feeling down.

Spring makes me dig deep to find a reason to care. While it may be a time of renewal and rebirth for many, with distractions, pressure, and exhaustion, it almost feels like the dreadful, difficult darkness of winter has just been extended –– even worsened. I truly wish to love you, spring, but you make it so hard.