With summer coming to a close and autumn just starting up, many are excited for the coming of pumpkin spice everything, sweatshirts and the vibrant colors we will soon see in the trees. The change also brings with it debate, albeit friendly, about what time of the year is best. Therefore, I figured I’d break it down logically and see if I can determine once and for all which season is the best.
To get a frame of reference, let’s look at what people around the country think. According to a 2013 study, autumn is the most popular season. 29 percent of respondents preferred this time of year, while the least popular season was winter at just 7 percent. Other polls, most notably a Gallup study in 2005, have had spring at the top of the list. Overall, spring and fall are rated very highly and winter is consistently last.
It is interesting to examine the breakdown by age on this question. Spring is by far the favorite season for old geezers (55+), while it is the second least favorite for young whippersnappers (18-34). The inverse is true for summer. Autumn’s popularity is pretty evenly distributed across age groups, as is winter’s unpopularity.
Much of this comes down to personal preference, but can we objectively measure the benefits and drawbacks of each season? There are a few things to be considered. First, and most obviously, weather. Summer is hot. Winter is cold. Spring and fall are in the middle. The exact numbers may vary based on your region, but I think that covers the gist of it. Like Goldilocks, most people prefer the middle ground. And this makes sense; extreme temperatures on either end are very unpleasant.
Of course, weather is not just temperature. It rains a lot in spring, which you probably enjoy if you can curl up inside with a good book or are a plant, but do not enjoy if you’re a traffic officer or wicked witch. In winter you get snow, which is beautiful up to the point where you’re old enough that you have to shovel it instead of play with it. Summer has hurricanes and humidity, both bad, and heat waves which are also bad. Finally autumn has the beautiful change of leaves, relatively dry weather, and that’s about it. In the category of weather, I give the edge to autumn, as it’s pretty normal and is generally quite nice.
I would be remiss if I didn’t consider the events and activities we are able to do in each season. In wintertime, of course, we get Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and a ton of other great holidays. This usually comes with a nice break as well. Unique to this time of year is enjoying the snow (unless you’re from the south), hot chocolate and two months of Christmas carols on the radio. So, you know, definitely some pluses and minuses. Summer is the best time to swim and adventure outside, and holidays like the Fourth of July and no school for three to four months are pretty great. Autumn has Thanksgiving (which comes with a break for many), election season (whoop), football, apple-picking, apple cider, apple pie and pumpkins. Spring has a couple of minor holidays like Memorial Day, but it also the beginning of gardening and end of tax season. Again, I’d have to give the edge to autumn, because there are so many fun and exciting things to do that you just don’t see any time else.
Every season has its benefits and drawbacks. Finding the best one comes down to deciding which aspects you value and enjoy the most. Do you love to go to the beach and lay in the sun? Summer is your best option. Do you really love voting? Pick autumn. Are you the company that makes a killing selling salt to UConn to put around campus before snowstorms? I think you know what season you like most. Whatever your preference, remember that this is one question that doesn’t have a right answer. Don’t deride people who have different thoughts on this for you, except for those sickos who like winter because of the inundation of Christmas carols everywhere. Those guys are nuts.
Jacob Kowalski is opinion editor for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.