NEWS

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October 12, 2004

Gentle Autumn weather pulls scholars outdoors

Strange forces appear to be at work at the University of Chicago. Students who normally lock themselves in their dorm rooms or seek sanctuary in the library have been found, of all places, outside.

First-year in the College David Berger said the sunny and warm weather is responsible for bringing him outdoors. Berger was on his way to the library when he decided—on a whim—to study in a sunny area outside the Administration Building.

"I saw people sitting in the quad and I just looked around and saw how beautiful it was, so I sat down and opened my book," he said. "It's noticeably less efficient than studying indoors, but it's worth it because of the gorgeous surroundings. It's very low stress."

Berger is not the only student to forsake the sterile study environment of the library for a little sunshine. Janelle Pisarik, also a first-year in the College, said she likes to study outdoors, although it is not always the most conducive place for studying. "When I study outside I find I'm easily distracted by people walking by or playing sports," she said. "Studying outside is much less productive."

Passing acquaintances are not the only peril students face when studying outdoors. "I like to get a little bit of fresh air and sun, but it's a risk," said Megan Mio, a first-year graduate student in the Divinity School. "There are lots of squirrels, and I'm so afraid that they'll walk right up to me without my noticing."

While they may have to fend off squirrels, students will not have to endure the frigid temperatures for which Chicago is famous until the beginning of November, said Peter Geiger, editor of the Farmers' Almanac. "We call for it to be humid until the middle of next month," Geiger said. "The month of October doesn't look too bad, it won't be all that cold until around November 8 or 11."

But when it does get cold, residents of Chicago can expect a snowier winter than usual. "There will be heavy snows in the middle to end of December, with four to five snowfalls each month in December, January and February," he said.

Until the temperature decreases, Pisarik said she intends to continue taking advantage of the moderate temperatures and clear skies. Seeing students relaxing and studying on the quads has dispelled some of her commonly held misconceptions regarding U of C students. "As a first-year coming to Chicago, I thought everyone would be crammed inside library cubicles," she said. "But it seems that these intellectuals are social creatures as well who also enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors."