Brendan O’Malley said because he is from West Chicago, he has taken advantage of nice weather while he can.
With an unusually warm start to the spring, some students are finding it hard to stay on track academically. Many claim that with the variety of outdoor activities Carbondale offers, it is hard to stay focused or even attend class.
O’Malley, a freshman from West Chicago studying aviation, said he struggles to make it to class every day.
“I wake up with the intentions of going to class, but when the sun is out and it’s above 70 degrees, I usually just end up riding my skateboard around,” he said.
O’Malley is not alone.
Derek Martin, a sociology professor, said he has seen a significant drop in attendance at his lectures recently.
“There are no specific studies on how weather affects students that I know of, but things like seasonal depression make it evident that weather can be a factor in people’s moods,” he said.
Martin said he couldn’t say the weather takes full responsibility for his students’ lack of ambition.
“There are many things to consider, such as the end of the semester nearing, but I can’t say that I don’t want to spend my time outside when it’s nice out,” he said.
Bethany Becker, a freshman from Libertyville studying recreation, said she hasn’t been able to sit inside.
“If the sun is out, you better bet that I am too,” she said.
Becker said she spends her time hula hooping, hiking and just laying out with friends.
“I find it really hard to motivate myself to go to class, and when I do go to class I find myself looking out the window just waiting to get out,” she said.
Justin Schoof, associate professor of climatology, said the unusual weather can’t really be explained.
“It is unusual for the weather to go one degree over the previous all-time high. This March in northern Illinois the all-time high topped off at five degrees over the previous, which just goes to show how odd this trend has been,” he said.
Schoof said he is not sure about how the weather is affecting the students.
“I have a mandatory attendance policy, but I have noticed a lot of classes are being held outside,” Schoof said.
Ashley Barbeau, a freshman from St. Louis studying elementary education, said the warm weather has actually made it easier for her to attend class.
“I hate the cold and oftentimes I would have a hard time getting to class when it was cold earlier in the semester,” she said. “Now I get to enjoy the nice weather as I am walking to class.”
Barbeau said a majority of her friends do the exact opposite.
“They try to get me to go to Giant City and the Spillways with them instead of class. Luckily, I have my priorities straight,” she said.
Becker and O’Malley both said they have taken this semester with a grain of salt.
“Hopefully I learned my lesson this semester, and next spring I will force myself to go to class,” O’Malley said.