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Viewpoint: Spring semester isn't all bad — here's how to survive

Spring brings the least cheery of semesters to Weber State University. Not that there are many to pick from, but of the three, it is undeniably the most dismal. Fall rides on the crests of summer waves backed by the cheerfully non-academic dog-days breezes, but spring semester rises from the ashes of celebrations and holidays past. We at The Signpost have become painfully aware of this unequivocal fact during our various academic experiences.

Some of our readers can agree with us on why spring semester isn’t our favorite, but there are also redeeming qualities about spring 2014 that we would like to share. With each struggle students face, there also comes what we’ll call “spring advice,” or special words of wisdom that especially apply to this so-so semester.

1. Buy textbooks early. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Textbooks are the bane of students’ financial existence. Supply and demand rarely equate with the inflated (and inflammatory) price of required texts, leaving penniless undergraduates to foot the confusing bill. As if matters couldn’t get any worse, many vendors do not keep up their business to fall-semester standards, leaving students with fewer options to buy from. Back-to-school specials are nowhere to be found, leaving school supplies hidden in back corners of supermarkets and often substantially more expansive than during their previous sale.

Although technically fall-semester advice, we suggest students buy the books immediately after registration in November. Or even sacrifice the iPhone 5 and socks on the Christmas wishlist and opt for books and supplies instead.

2. Stay involved, or get involved.

Oddly enough, the number of students seems to drop once Christmas has come and gone. Spring finds reduced enrollment, making extracurricular activities more intimate (or awkward, as the case may be). Student groups across campus will find themselves desperate to recruit new members to the music ensembles, intramural sports teams and publication staffs to fight off poor performances, forfeits and keyboards bloody from overworked fingers.

Our message for students is that spring semester is a great time to join a new organization. If a certain club or organization doesn’t do it for you, just join the Weber State University Student Association.

Speaking of the WSUSA, spring semester is the best time to get involved in it. Much to the surprise of apolitical students, the Shepherd Union building will fill with stickers, banners, confetti and raucous music, and usually there is a good deal of cake involved. All this fuels the eventual hopes of presidential hopefuls working to be elected to the executive board of officers within WSUSA.

To the surprise of the majority of the population, these candidates have been jockeying for position the entire year and are only now surfacing to show their campaigns. If you have an acquaintance who suddenly joins a plethora of student groups and becomes very interested in your support, though vague about what you’re supporting, you’re being pulled into the pre-campaign draft. If you don’t avoid this, you’ll be handing cake to strangers, which is about as awkward as it sounds.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em: Become a part of the once-a-year political fervor at Weber State.

3. Endure to the end, and don’t sweat the snow.

Some think spring semester is dreadfully depressing due to the cold and the snow. But let us remind you readers that there are four days when class is canceled in fall semester. Spring semester has seven. Spring is a full two weeks shorter than its counterpart and offers at its end the promise of fair weather and rest. It is as though the university and nature itself knew we all would need a bit more to brave this dreary collegiate test of hope.

This semester we have just begun is already looking promising. With the 125th-anniversary celebration happening all day Tuesday, who wouldn’t want to be registered for spring semester? The WSU Outdoor Program also goes on whitewater rafting trips and hikes to explore the Wasatch Front during one of the most beautiful and uplifting times of the year.

Our spring advice is to travel or give service during spring break. Usually, nothing makes us feel better as human beings than being in the service of others. The Center for Community Engaged Learning hosts a special service-oriented spring break trip every year.

The world is set upon school beginning in the fall and enduring through the spring. May grace, tenacity and caffeine be with us all until late April, for surely we will need it.

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