By HANNAH FARROW
Fall has arrived but Tampa’s temperatures still sit in the high 80’s and low 90’s. With 32.5 percent of UT’s students coming from colder regions, these temperatures give the season a whole new meaning.
For Jamie Ferree, a junior at UT, being in Florida while her friends are home in Pennsylvania experiencing cooler temperatures makes her miss home.
“I miss my room, and home-cooked food, and my friends from home, and everyone in my town,” Ferree said. “I like the hot weather, but it’d be nice if it were to change. I miss the crisp and cool air of fall.”
Ferree’s responses aren’t uncommon. With roughly 50 percent of students coming from out of the state of Florida (ut.edu), the term Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has a new twist to it.
SAD “is a type of depression that occurs during the same season each year. You may have SAD if you felt depressed during the last two winters but felt much better in spring and summer,” according to WebMD.
In this case, students are feeling gloomy because they miss the fall season. Brandon Raye, a senior at UT, grew up in a small town in Maine, which is typically known for its perpetually cool weather.
“The fall is one of the most beautiful times in the state of Maine,” Raye said. “I’ll be missing that for the third year in a row. We also have mountains, a rocky coastline, thick forests and winding rivers that you don’t see here.”
Not to mention that hunting season is a week away.
“It’s depressing to think that I won’t be able to hunt,” Raye said.
Although homesickness is common, there are bigger issues on campus to tackle. Dr. Rahul Mehra, the Medical Director of the Counseling Center at UT, explained that most students venturing through the Dickey Health and Wellness Center doors seeking counseling are suffering from depression.
Dr. Mehra said that students may feel depressed because “they’re worried about their family, significant other, or status of a relationship.” It can also occur when students leave the comforts of their home and enter into a new living environment.
While Mehra says homesickness is not a main concern in the Health and Wellness center, it remains an issue that many students encounter daily.
“They best thing they can do is talk about it,” Mehra said.
There’s a stigma with seeking help for mental health issues, that those who do are weak. But there is no need to feel embarrassed or guilty.
In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that, “In 2011, the American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment (ACHA–NCHA)— a nationwide survey of college students at both two and four-year institutions— found that about 30 percent of college students reported feeling ‘so depressed that it was difficult to function’ at some time in the past year.”
The Dickey Health and Wellness Center offers six free sessions with one of four full-time employed counselors. Sometimes the issues can be resolved in one session, sometimes it may take 12, Mehra stated. If it is more than the six free sessions, the student’s health insurance should cover the rest.
Mehra encourages those experiencing depression to utilize the resources on campus. For more information regarding this topic, visit https://www.ut.edu/counseling/.
Hannah Farrow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org