I trudge home, uphill, with my face buried in my winter jacket and always end up getting hair in my mouth from the bitter wind. I throw my backpack on the steps and drag myself upstairs,  still shivering; I go to sleep until my mother wakes me up to eat dinner, when the Pittsburgh grey has faded into a deep darkness. I am sad.

Teenagers across the world are experiencing the phenomenon of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, the disorder that causes depression in individuals based on seasons. This disorder, typically seen in young adults, is now becoming more and more common in high school students. This could explain the dip in third quarter grades that many students report noting. I polled two classes of students while thinking about the topic, and a large majority stated their grades were lower.

SAD is often accompanied by a severe decrease in motivation, thus explaining the work ethic, or lack thereof, for students suffering from the disorder. Typically in winter, one of the most common side effects is a lack of will and feeling of hopelessness; as a sophomore, I think that a lack of purpose and existential crises are in the job description, really.

Freshmen are fascinating; they are like little experiments, watched and observed by upperclassmen. Juniors have their heads down, plowing forward, and working hard to get to college. Seniors are so close to freedom they can almost taste it. As a lowly tenth grader, my purpose is somewhat cloudier; I am not yet zeroed in on colleges yet. Besides the PSAT, I don’t really have to worry day to day about my QPA or an admissions essay or scholarships.  or my future, nor am I just beginning high school like the freshmen. I am existing, but not really existing.

I think these feelings only increase because of the winter, which I despise. I feel trapped and dark constantly, drowning in homework and pointless assignments regarding things I care nothing about. There are days when resisting my comforter and cats is the hardest task to overcome, truly.

Winter can be a festive, wondrous season, but it can also be the downfall of many bright teenagers who cannot bring themselves to fulfill the taxing requirements of high school. It’s important to be poignantly aware of the shattering effect SAD can have on teens instead of passing it off just as angst ridden days.

Beating SAD can be a struggle, and like most psychological diseases, the solution is not simple. However, finding time to do things you like, be it musical, sports or just watching The Emperor’s New Groove on Netflix can keep the winter blues at bay.

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