Winter slump: students face low motivation in the heart of the year


The GlenOak Grounds in February. Eagle Photo by Jacob Harms

Jacob Harms, Staff Writer

It’s January. Winter break has passed, the snow coats GlenOak High School and its grounds, and temperatures plunge below 0 degrees as students fight snowdrifts on their way into school each morning. 

Within the walls of GlenOak, however, students are fighting a different battle. 

The midpoint of the school year marks a point of low motivation for many GlenOak students. Whether it be caused by sports, work, or just general exhaustion, the “winter slump” is real within the student body. 

One possible cause of this is that extracurricular activities are especially prevalent during the winter. 

“I have school work to do, then I go to practice for four hours a night,” junior swimmer Kate Weisbrod said.

The struggle of balancing school work with athletics and other extracurriculars is a pressure felt by a large number of GlenOak students.

“I would describe the stretch from Winter Break to Spring Break the hardest, largely because of extracurriculars.” Weisbrod said.

Another possible cause of this lack of motivation is the cold weather. Having to deal with layering up outside while school work is at its peak has proved to be a challenge for students.

“I cried last time I drove in the snow,” Junior Claire Sanders said. The harsh weather is challenging in different ways for many students.

A final reason motivation is low in the winter months is because the academic side of students’ lives is at its peak. Even in the absence of midterms and exams at GlenOak, the middle of the year is still where the curriculum is at its heaviest. 

“The students often have nothing to look forward to. The first couple of months are easy because school is still fresh and new,” said Biology teacher Erin Steinmetz. 

For most, though, it’s a combination of all of these things that make the winter months so hard. Whether it be scraping an icy windshield in the morning, dealing with wet shoes every day, or waiting in the cold for the bus, there is sure to be something that gets to everybody during the winter months. 

Mental health is also reportedly lower in the winter due to these factors. “I definitely see a mental health dip in my students,” Steinmetz said. 

Lack of academic motivation is associated by many to be a symptom of seasonal depression, as well as a slew of other mental conditions. These conditions are worsened by all of the stress already placed upon students academically.

“I would say that based on my experience, and talking to other people, students definitely experience a winter slump,” Weisbrod said.

As rough as the winter months are, we all get through them somehow. The students of GlenOak rise to the occasion each year. When spring finally comes, there is a sigh of relief by all. Hang in there, students! Spring is only a few months away.