Here in Lund, since the clocks went back and winter is beginning to arrive (as is evident from my very Game of Thrones title), it is now dark more than it is light. This presents some interesting quirks that as a Scot (from further north than here) I am overly familiar with but still never get used to. The sun rising on the way to class is something that will start soon, but will only be fleeting until we begin arriving when it’s not daylight yet. Already it gets dark well before we leave the SUDes studios in the afternoon, with the sun setting around 16:00.
Many arriving students from other parts of the world will not be used to this, as I am sure some of my fellow ambassadors can confirm. There’s always that one student who has never seen or touched real snow before and that moment when they light up is enough to make anyone’s heart melt. However with 25 years of experience I still struggle to get through the dark winter and it really kills my mood and motivation. It’s a giant hill to climb over with deadlines when all you want to do is hibernate until spring…
During the past week just gone last year, during our first ever mid-crit of masters, it was the first snow of that winter in Lund. It did not last very long (a few days), but came roaring back in December for finals. The fact that this extended period of darkness (no snow yet this year) comes with the giant workload leading to finals is a double-whammy of negativity. My advice? Brave (embrace?) the cold and keep going to classes and design studios, otherwise the temptation to cocoon in blankets and duvets will be too great. Get out into those few hours of sunlight to get that necessary vitamin D, take a walk to the frozen campus lake, but don’t forget the coat, scarf and gloves! It’s also at this point that people begin missing home the most (I know I do), so video-call your families, make all the comfort foods, whap out the candles and jumpers and host/attend pot-luck dinners. Book your flights home, or alternatively make some winter travel plans with friends, as something to look forward to. Hit up nation lunches and pubs, organise socials, movie nights, everything. Last year, I cycled through ice and a snowstorm just to meet friends at a nation pub for dinner. Literally do anything to maintain motivation while maintaining a life and good quality breaks amongst the dark void that is work, and stave off that pesky Seasonal Affective Disorder (forcibly named to make sure the acronym is SAD) that comes with Nordic winter student life. Everyone is different, make sure you and your friends are dealing with it well. This and more is all for you applicants out there to look forward to!
As the almost ubiquitous Bear Grylls meme tells us, “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.” because indeed whether we’re ready or not, “Winter is Coming” =)