Commuter Corner: The power of the sun

 Seasonal depression is real and just a little bit of sunlight can make a persons day better. (Clarissa Blackburn/Flickr Creative Commons)

Seasonal depression is real and just a little bit of sunlight can make a persons day better. (Clarissa Blackburn/Flickr Creative Commons)

Have you heard about seasonal depression? This isn’t going to be a well thought-out article about the effects and realities of seasonal depression, but I will note that I just realized it was a thing, and that was mostly because of my commute.

I start out pretty early in the mornings. My first class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays begins at 9 a.m., as does my shift at my internship on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, every day I leave my house at around 8 a.m., getting up about an hour before that.

I did not have any idea how strong the sun’s grip was until it started coming back. If I’m being completely honest, I did not know that seasonal depression even existed until I started seeing the sun in the mornings and then returned to sadness as it was torn away from me by the time shift. This slow recovery where the sun is awake when I am has been amazing.

During the winter, the days would just drone on. I wasn’t excited to head to my internship or to school, which isn’t exactly normal for me. I don’t usually start my days in a sour mood; I’m more of a morning person in all reality. As the sun started peeping through my windows, my mood started brightening as well. I wasn’t overly thrilled to be driving an hour to classes, but I had a happier outlook on the day. I smiled more in the mornings as well as throughout the day. And I only realized this when it was time to  “spring” the clocks forward. I was thrust once again into darkness.

My mood shifted, and I started asking coworkers about it, and they told me about seasonal depression; Being in winter too long can actually make people sad.

My coworker mentioned that for her (and most other people, I presume) the sun still being out when she leaves work is the best feeling. She can still go for walks or hikes with friends: it doesn’t feel like she works for the entire day and then can’t do anything when she goes home. I informed her that I don’t do anything when I go home anyway, that I just like waking up knowing that the world is awake too, but she didn’t seem to understand that. Most people are not morning people, I get that. But it amazed me the impact the sun can have.

This star that is extremely far away from us, that we don’t even pay all that much homage too, has been known to seriously alter people’s moods. It just blows my mind. The only time I paid attention to it before was when it gave me a sunburn; I hated the sun for that.

I guess it’s finally hitting me, this whole adulting thing. I’m growing up and the world is becoming darker; something as small as having the sun wake up when I do makes me so happy.


Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hannah.desrosiers@uconn.edu.