January, and Why It’s a Bad Month

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It’s the New Year. Surrounded by close friends, you’ve just finished a nine-hour celebration of all of the good times 2018 brought your way (which, let’s be honest, there could’ve been at least a few more). The ghost of three liters of soda and a pound of party food will come to haunt you the next morning, but it doesn’t matter; it’s time to start 2019 with a clean slate and a happy conscience.

Too bad that mentality probably won’t last long.

January, the first month of the Gregorian calendar year, is almost never on the top half of people’s lists of favorite months out of the 12 to choose from, and the reason for that is simple: January sucks.

Now, a lot of reasons for this come from common sense. One is that January is the immediate successor to the holiday season. After having celebrated the back-to-back-to-back holidays that October, November and December are known and loved for, many are left feeling down once the festivity ride is over. According to Dr. Marie Hartwell Walker of Psych Central, “Some studies show as many as 25 percent of Americans suffer from low-grade to full-blown depression after the holidays.” And what month comes right after the holidays? January, a month known only for holding the second half of the New Year celebration. How sad.

Holiday blues isn’t the only issue, however. Students at South face a particular problem that comes during the month of January: finals. While most schools practice logic and reason by having finals come the week before break, South decides each year to do it the week after. This not only causes winter break to be a less enjoyable experience (with the looming silhouette of finals growing larger and larger as it silently materializes over your conscience), but also kicks off students’ new year with a bang. And by “bang”, I mean frantically studying for finals with the burning fervor of a thousand suns.

Now, regrets about not studying earlier may lead some students to try and make resolutions, in tandem with many others across the globe. However, the odds of following through with January resolutions are perhaps well-known for being slim. According to an article written by Joseph Luciani of U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, often because such resolutions are based off of the feelings of guilt that arise from eating in excess during the holidays, rather than self-discipline. And while studies suggest that the act of making resolutions still holds a positive influence, it can’t be ignored that failing to meet resolutions makes lots of people feel bad.

That “bad” feeling, whether it comes from failed resolutions, post-holiday depression, or the awful, awful practice of post-break finals, is what makes January a truly sucky month. With that in mind, however, that isn’t to say that all is lost. January is still the starting point of a whole year, and it’s the best month to practice self-reflection before diving into the 11 months ahead. So, take the time to look within yourself, make practical goals, and have a good time along the way. Besides, once it’s February, you’ll have a full ten months before January rears its ugly head again.