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The Deerfield Winter, as Told By Students
Lily Zeng '22 Communications Director
February 21, 2021

“Winter Term has been quick but strenuous. With classes, COVID, and the cold, I feel like there is no escaping. Every time I find myself at the surface, making progress, and feeling better, some unforeseen issue pulls me down. It’s important in these moments of sinking for us to look around, see that we aren’t alone and give the support we can give each other.”

Arie  Lewis-Pugh ’22

“The winter has definitely been tough on everyone, I recommend that students struggling to look out for the events that the Student Planning Committee has organized. I feel like returning students have been affected the most because of the previous excitement that Deerfield winters provided. Overall, I believe that there are resources on campus for students to take advantage in regards to mental health; however, the workload and stress of classes can make taking care of mental health seem like an unnecessary inconvenience.” 

Max Kainamura ’22

“I think my mental health has actually been thriving this winter, which I feel grateful for.  At Deerfield there is pressure to take AP classes or the hardest possible courses you can muster the effort to put yourself through.  But this year, I decided that I only want to take classes that genuinely interest me.  I’m in Intro to Cosmos and Poetry.  Unlike last year I don’t dread the school day, and I’m happy for engaging in a love of learning.  Beyond that my mental health has been great because I made more hobbies for myself.  I do a lot of embroidery into my jeans and I’ve picked up sketching.  Also JV swim and the opportunity to be active everyday has promoted a healthy mindset as well!”

Janie Doyle ’21

Winter is always a tough time and with COVID now too, I have found myself in some difficult days. I am definitely grateful to be here on campus with everyone, but there have been challenging days, and I think others would agree. I think one of my main things to keep in a good headspace is to just talk to my friends and people around me and to make the best of what we have…  Deerfield is very open and supportive about talking about mental health which is very helpful for students, yet I feel that some informal conversations among friends about your mental health should be more normalized.

Keri Clougherty ’21

“In the winter at DA, I have always found it noticeably more mentally challenging than other terms. I think a lot of that has to do with the weather and how short and crammed the days all feel. For me especially with time commitment to swimming, I can never find time in the day to just be outside and enjoy myself like I can in the fall or spring. Luckily, I love swimming and the swim team so I have been able to rely on them alongside my other friends to get me through, so it has never been that bad for me.”

Robert Amundson ’22

The winter term, especially in the midst of a pandemic, has been pretty detrimental to my mental health. That being said though, I think everyone has a tough time in the winter but as someone who struggles with mental health year round, winter can be really rough. I spend time with friends and try to keep open conversations about mental health going whenever I can regardless of who it may be and that helps me a lot – helping others with their mental health helps my mental health.

Ella Mbanefo ’22

“One way that helped me cope with the winter is finding a reason to smile, which is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. For me, a reason to smile can be watching a new show, starting a new craft or changing my mentality. I tried to stop searching for the “why” in things like “why can’t I do this” or “why is this happening to me” because even though I try searching for the why during hard times, it is what it is, which brought me to a new mentality: during hard times, I try to think “bring it on.” 

Sara Ito-Bagshaw ’22

“I largely experience Winter as sinking, breathlessness. The feelings of isolation and hopelessness are the most difficult part for me. I think I mostly get by looking for moments of warmth and connection however few they may be.”

Adebisi Akilo ’21

“Certain restrictions definitely takes a toll on me, like isolating dorms and banning out-of-school activities, which are unarguably needed for healthier campus. Each morning, I jot down three short points: Today I will focus on… Today I am grateful for… Today I will let go of… Those brief remarks help me focus on the day and feel accomplished, which makes me feel better.”

Tom Park ’21

“This winter has been somewhat rough on my mental health, and that seems to be a common theme among my friends. Everyone has different coping mechanisms, but I have found that being creative is typically successful, so whether I am writing, listening to music, or making Valentine’s Day cards for my friends, art has been a useful tool. For others in a similar situation, I would recommend diving into their passions, and finding tranquil activities to relieve some stress.”

Will Sussbauer ’23

“Being a generally cheerful person in combination with the abundance of events and activities at Deerfield to keep me occupied, the winter has been a breather for me as well as many seniors finishing off their college applications. In previous winter seasons however, it has definitely been a little tough with the stress of the academic workload coupled with the bleak weather conditions. People always make it better. The winter gives you hope for the blossoming of flowers and new relationships in the Spring.”

Noah Depp ’21