The first Monday of Hilary is officially the most depressing day of the year. Perhaps not a surprising revelation to Oxford students – the return to work is never welcomed with boundless enthusiasm, especially when it comes accompanied by January puddles and greyness. Yet the first Monday of HT09, 18th January, is also officially recognised across the country as “Blue Monday” – the gloomiest, most miserable day of them all. It is a definition calculated by psychologist Dr Arnall according to factors of weather, debt, time since Christmas and abandoned new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the itch to begin afresh. No wonder we return to Oxford feeling slightly damper, heavier and grumpier than normal – we are statistically bound to it. Add to this the continual barrage of devastating news: mayhem in the Middle East, the continual collapse of high street stores, rising unemployment rates and consumer costs – and it seems as if 2009 is calculated to be a year of difficulty, stress and unhappiness. How will we poor students cope?

Perfectly well, infact. So stop your whining.

We may be entering the worst recession in living memory, but we don’t live in Gaza, the Democratic Republic of Congo or Afghanistan, and there is more chance of being killed crossing Queen’s Street than by Islamic terrorists. Let’s continue to be inspired by the fruitful dedication and hard work of the British Olympic team in Beijing, and remember the stealthy British resilience that we are famous for. We’re good in battle – so stand up straight, start humming ‘Jerusalem’ at all times, and recognise some of the many causes for Oxford Cheer in 2009.

1.Thankfully, most of us are yet to enter the job market and shocking unemployment rates still have time to (please) improve before we graduate. Plus, at the moment we’re doing out bit as the university is the second largest employer in Oxfordshire, directly and indirectly supporting over 18,000 jobs.

2.Several upcoming events in Oxford will serve as happy, legitimate distractions from work such as the Oxford Folk festival in March, the Turl Street Arts festival and (in case you may have forgotten) the Boat Race in April.

3.An increasing number of colleges are paying for their students to be members at Iffley gym, which means a saving of £50, if not improved cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance levels as well.

4.The Carling Academy is hosting a few good bands in the next few weeks, such as The Rifles, Starsailor, Hundred Reasons…and Goldie Lookin’ Chain, and there may actually be some good speakers at the Union this term.

5.Apologies here to students of Classics, Psychology, Law and other silly subjects who examine in Hilary, but for most students this is the term of stress-free bliss. Evaporated are the Michaelmas struggles of post-summer re-engagement, and the exams of Trinity are many a week away: spring can just breeze on by.

6.Student mentality has become the official British line of action. Frugality is good, and students are no longer the embarrassing, avaricious baddies ordering tap water in restaurants. We were right all along.

7.It looks set to be a great year for films -with double doses of Che Guavara and Kate Winslet, some more magic from Dan Brown and Harry Potter, and a dash of Star Trek. Grab your Orange Wednesday or Student Beans discount and trot on down to George Street to enjoy.

8.Hilary is the term of Varsity matches and university pride – so either shout and stamp furiously in support or, if you’re competing, make sure you bloody win.

9.Save money on meals out and impress your mother/friends/girlfriend by discovering your hidden talent: la cuisine. McCarthy Brothers, a grocer stand in the Covered Market, has reported an increase in sales as shoppers in the recession are inspired by lighter wallets and celebrity chefs to stay in, save, and get cooking themselves. JCR kitchens: stand by.

10.It’s cold outside. Really cold. Days spent wholly indoors (in pyjamas) are, for now, completely acceptable.

11.Finally, our two main political parties are starting to demonstrate real differences between each other. As efficient action is demanded to cope with immediate issues, it is becoming an exciting time to jump off the fence and onto a political side.

12.Likewise, the US is soon to have a cool, new president. Not only is Obama quite handsome, he’s making politics interesting and accessible for everyone and offering a symbol of hope and change for a world in crisis in 2009.

13.There are only 48 more Monday mornings until next Christmas.

14.If you live out, don’t feel stingy about turning down the heating in your house. You’re saving energy: you’re saving the plant. Keep at it. Similarly, buying new clothes for a happiness booster is simultaneously supporting Cornmarket’s stores. If you still feel guilty about being so grotesquely materialistic, then visit second-hand shops in Cowley instead, and call your new clothes ‘vintage’.

15.Oxford University researchers have struck gold and made what is, quite possibly, the most important discovery in centuries. Wine, chocolate and tea can improve cognitive performance: the student diet was right all along.

Happy New Year, everyone.