Summer means sunshine (possibly), holidays (probably) and the absence of University/school/college for several glorious months. Winter? That’s Christmas, the likelihood of snow and an excuse to sit by a log fire, drinking cup after cup of mulled wine (idealistically). Then there’s spring. Lambs frolicking, a sense that warmer weather is on its way, and mountains and mountains of sickening Easter chocolate.

But what about autumn? Is it the forgotten season, nestled comfortably between its more exciting counterparts? Or is it hiding a great secret? A secret which makes it the greatest season of them all.

Image provided by the University of Southampton (www.facebook.com/unisouthampton)

Now, there are the obvious problems of nights drawing in, days getting colder and the inevitable gloomy realisation that, actually, you DO have work to do. We emerge from our beds in the mornings, bleary eyed in the darkness, dreading the walk to the kitchen because we know that day by day, the single-glazed windows will cease to capture what little heat we’ve managed to generate. And then there’s the matter of getting out of the nice hot shower to get to your 9am…brrr.

Regardless of the ensuing misery, Autumn is rather spectacular if we take a step back in our boot-clad feet to appreciate it. October especially has a reputation in Britain for harbouring the last of the summer’s warmth and Freshers’ 2011 was brilliant, in part due to the 25 degree temperatures imposed upon us when we thought all warmth was lost.

This year hasn’t been quite so balmy. But, aside from Southampton’s impromptu monsoon season, Autumn is the time of trees shedding their leaves, long walks across the Common and beautiful sunsets across the city. You just have to look across campus to appreciate the beauty of the transition.

Image provided by the University of Southampton (www.facebook.com/unisouthampton)

And, of course, it’s time to get the jumpers out. Nothing beats a big knitted autumnal jumper; hand crafted by your Granny or a cheap one from Primark, men and women alike know that there’s nothing better to cosy up in until the day your housemates reluctantly agree to put the heating on.

Autumn inevitably entails the start of a new academic year. “But I don’t want to write any more essays!” or “My brain has stopped working!” are common cries of disillusioned students who forgot over a long summer that they’d ever have to write an academic paper again. Boring work aside, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of catching up with familiar faces  and vowing to yourself that, yes I WILL work harder this semester.

Television too is another thing to celebrate. I might be mourning the loss of the Great British Bake Off perhaps more than is healthy, but there are plenty of other annoyingly addictive series (Made In Chelsea, Fresh Meat, Strictly Come Dancing…) panning out in the lead up to Christmas to distract you from your essays.

Woolly knitwear, transforming landscapes and mindless entertainment. Just a few reasons to appreciate the season that’s not quite Christmas, but isn’t warm enough to be summer, either. The days might be shorter and the temperature somewhat lower, but what better excuse to get the hot chocolate on the bubble?

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