How the Weather Can Impact Your College Experience

You’re fast asleep when the blaring sound of your alarm clock startles you out of your slumber. While rubbing your eyes, you take a look out of your dorm room window. It’s snowing, again. And your class is a 10 minute walk away up an icy hill. You moan in disgust at the journey that lies ahead of you. “Is it even worth it?” you think to yourself. “Should I even go to class?”

If you have faced this struggle at some point in your college career, you’re not alone. Studies show that the weather has a correlation with someone’s mood and level of motivation. It makes sense, too. Wouldn’t we all be more motivated to get outside to go to class if it were 75 degrees and along the beach? For this reason, you may want to consider the climate of where you are going to school, but also pick a university that will make you happy no matter what the weather is like.

I attended the University of Idaho my freshman year of college, and let me tell you the winters in Idaho are anything but pleasant. Because the university is basically located in a valley, there were wicked winds during the winter which made the already cold temperatures even colder. I remember having to wear a scarf over my face to keep the wind from burning me. During this season, it was hard for any of my peers or me to want to go to class and stay motivated. This got me thinking, would I be more motivated if the climate was better? Would I be in a better mood?

Can the weather affect your success in college?

Studies show that thoughts like this aren’t so outrageous. In fact, in a study done on college students, higher temperatures showed better moods, more optimism, and better memory. However, higher humidity showed lack of vigor and affection, and also sleepiness. Though degrees of seasonal depression may vary from person to person, it may be a factor to consider if you find yourself feeling down when it’s a little chilly.

So what does this mean for you? This means that it’s important that you choose a university that will satisfy your needs as a student and a person. It’s not realistic that we all go to college in Hawaii and work on our tans while reading our textbooks, but it shouldn’t matter if you’re at a university that has good programs and clubs for your interests. Also, for some of us it’s not financially doable to go out of state for college.

However, if you have the funds to do it, I suggest that you explore and see what other states have to offer. If you enjoy the sunshine, maybe try a university in Arizona or southern California. If you think you'll be able to concentrate on your studies better curled up in the library when the snow is coming down, maybe inland Northwest is for you. If humidity makes you lackadaisical, stay away from Florida or the southern states.

However, be aware of how the weather can impact your decision when touring a college. Although it's important to consider, ideal weather conditions shouldn't override other concerns like poor graduation rates or limited access to professors.

As for me, I ended up transferring from the University of Idaho for personal reasons, but I sure don’t miss those cold walks uphill to my 8 AM class. Overall, everyone is different and the weather is constantly changing, so when choosing your university make sure it’s one that’ll make you happy rain or shine. 

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