How to: Avoid hibernating 101

  Last Friday, instead of staying in and watching movies, I traipsed over to the UVM recital hall. Having obtained a free ticket from the University to see a group called Anonymous 4, I figured I had nothing to lose. I returned to my dorm 75 minutes later, mind blown and eyes opened.  Although I was a bit conspicuous in an auditorium packed with gray hair – a reminder that college illusions you into thinking everyone is young and spry – the second the women floated across the stage, it was an experience like none other. Known for their mastery of a cappella medieval singing, this ensemble of four women has sold over two million albums worldwide. While I am not a medieval music connoisseur by any means, the haunting quality of their voices carried my imagination to distant lands of monasteries, maidens and knights. The ethereal melodies ricocheted off the walls, swirling and encircling the audience. In short, I had stumbled upon an incredible concert by accident. One of UVM’s greatest assets is its attraction to such fabulous performers. It would be ideal if more students attended the Lane Series concerts, Fleming Museum exhibits and other cultural events. With the second semester lumbering on, it is all too easy to fall into a pattern of eating, sleeping and studying. With temperatures in the single digits and the trifecta of wind, ice and snow, it can be tempting to fall into hibernation mode and forget about the exciting events happening on and off campus.  Unsure if you are in hibernation mode? Signs include copious amounts of fleece, stockpiles of food and a general vacant expression. Also, if your roommate asks why you have not left the room in several days, this may be an indication that it is time to rethink your current lifestyle.  What better purpose to leave your room — more of a bear cave, actually — than an enriching cultural activity? has plenty of ideas, from First Friday Artwalk on Feb. 3 to a Lane Series concert with Katie Davis on Feb. 11.  Even if you are unfamiliar with the genre of an event, you’ll never know what you will discover and how it might change your perspective on things. Perhaps you will realize that you adore impressionist paintings or, in my case, you might find a new appreciation of a certain music genre. If money is a concern, fear not. Many festivals downtown are free, as are most of the exhibits and events on campus. For the pricier concerts, planning in advance goes a long way in securing free or discounted student tickets. has all of the details. If these reasons are not enough to convince the sloth in you, then consider this. According to The Happiness Institute, “Many people become less active during the colder months. Less activity can then lead to lower mood[s] or, alternatively, maintaining a good level of activity can act as a powerful antidepressant and/or mood enhancer.” Checking out a cultural event is a win-win situation. You get to spend time with your friends, support various artists and learn something along the way. Despite your efforts to be active, there will always be a voice in your head saying, “Don’t go, it will be a waste of time. Get back in your pajamas and feast.” Accept the risk that you might love or hate what you find. Banish the voice, grab your mittens and explore what UVM and Burlington have to offer.