After exams ended and the mass exodus from campus had blown over, the College became a very different place. Spending the summer at Colby is still very much like a vacation, but it has a few twists that let the character of the campus shine.
Special Programs is the College’s department which manages all of the summer employees and also the events on campus. Medical and research conferences, sports camps and the Atlantic Music Festival are all coordinated through Special Programs. This department also organized a moose-watching trip across Western Maine for all of the student employees. While we did not see any moose, we went cliff-diving, swam at different state parks and took pictures at a few scenic vistas. It was one of the great highlights of the summer.
Research assistants like me arrived on campus a few weeks after classes ended, and most of us are here for 10 weeks. I’m researching for Professor Andrea Tilden in the Biology Department. All of us are very interested in the work we do and could talk about it for hours. However, the labs in which we research become more than just places to go to work. Lab groups hang out together and have meals together in the dining halls. Among other things, my lab group and I went to see the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. It was a lot of fun, even though we all had to go to work the next day.
Another unique feature of the summer experience on the Hill is the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences (CAPS). Minority and first-generation students are eligible for this program, which places incoming first-years in research labs on campus for six weeks in order to improve lab and leadership skills. My lab-mates and I have welcomed our CAPS students and found them to be hard workers and fun people.
Though my summer here is ending and the semester is fast approaching, I am doing what I can to enjoy my summer experience while I can. The Colby Undergraduate Summer Research Retreat is on July 26 and 27 and my lab group and I are presenting our preliminary findings there. After that, we have only two more weeks before our time here ends. Until then, I will continue to spend my time experiencing Colby in this fun and different way.