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Spring Fever

Blair Chemidlin | Thursday, March 27, 2008

Are you like me, finding yourself looking out the windows of DeBartolo wishing the snow would melt and the temperature rise? Have you been waiting one too many weeks for the bitter cold, wind, and constant precipitation to subside? Are you ready to put away your sweaters and winter coats; eager to break out the short-sleeves and flip-flops?

If you can’t resist putting off homework to toss a football around on the quad the moment it reaches fifty degrees, longing for the days when you can walk from your dorm to LaFortune without a hat and gloves, you may have a case of Spring Fever.

You are not alone.

I feel the only cure for this malady, no matter what your age, is to go outside and play. It seemed a lot of students on Notre Dame’s campus were feeling the same way that first really warm day, a week ago last Friday. As soon as classes were finished I grabbed my roommate and lacrosse stick and headed out to South Quad.

Much like the first snow had brought masses of students out onto the quads, the warm weather enticed guys and girls from every dorm outside to play football, frisbee, lacrosse, baseball, even some golf on the grassy quads while the sidewalks on campus and around the lakes were busy with people running, walking, riding bikes, and feeding the ducks.

We all must have known it wouldn’t hang around for long because so many of us took advantage of the beautiful weather while it lasted. Who could blame us after such a long, snowy winter in South Bend?

And what is it about the spring we love so much; why does this particular season make us feel the way we do? Poets have been writing about the phenomenon for years but now scientists can explain the symptoms of Spring Fever with scientific evidence about our brain’s chemical reactions to the light, warmth, and scents of the spring season.

Just as decreased sunlight can put people into a depression during the winter, (now called Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD), the increased sunlight that comes with springtime leads to more release of serotonin, making us happier. The chemical ingredients of sexual attraction are engaged with a special intensity in the springtime thanks to warmer weather, less clothing, and the flowery aromas of the season, giving us a greater desire to socialize and even, perhaps, fall in love.

Seems we were right to seize that sunny day because unfortunately that one and the other few nice days surrounding it tricked us with a “false spring” that quickly vanished with the arrival of more cold, wet weather. The 20th was technically the first day of spring if you go by the calendar, but it looks like we’ll still have to wait a little while before the last traces of winter fade away.