Working, Exploring, Bonding: Summer on the Hill
Come mid-May, students will finish their finals, pack up their rooms and head home. Seniors will take time to say goodbye to professors and friends before graduation. By the end of the month, campus will be deserted, or so one might think.
Instead of heading home or pursuing jobs in different parts of the country, a sizeable contingent of students remain on the Hill for the summer months. Students hold a number of jobs, ranging from assisting with faculty research to helping out in admissions.
Ellen Morris '11 spent last summer working at the Colby Bookstore. "I knew I'd have a bad job or no job at all if I went home, so I decided to stay with the [work study] job I had," she says. "I'd also never experienced a summer on the East Coast and wanted to explore Maine more," Morris, a San Diego native, says.
Margaret Kruithoff '12, spent last summer working as an intern in the organic garden on campus. Kruithoff is from Winslow, Maine, and she chose to work on campus over the summer because the internship coincided with her interest in gardening and sustainability, and because it allowed her to live at home.
Kruithoff spent the summer working on 'general upkeep' of the garden, she says, including weeding, harvesting vegetables and pest management. The internship also included an educational component, which gave Kruithoff and another organic garden intern the opportunity to go on field trips to farmers' markets and food distribution centers throughout the state of Maine with Director of Dining Services Joe Klaus to learn about the food market.
Nicole Sintetos '12 worked as a research assistant for Associate Professor of American Studies Margaret McFadden last summer, helping with research on 1930s pop culture. Sintetos is originally from Salinas, Calif., although her parents were in the process of moving to Maine last summer, and she chose to work on campus "because I knew I didn't want to live at home for the summer," she says.
Sintetos is an American Studies and Science, Technology and Society double major, so the research assistant position with McFadden was "a good way to get paid for doing what I'm interested in" she says. Sintetos spent most of her summer looking up articles, books and radio transcripts from the 1930s, "anything from Mae West to the Amos "n' Andy Show," she says.
At the end of the summer, all of the students who did research on campus took part in the Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium in order to share what they had learned over the summer with their classmates. 'It was great for me to see how diverse the research was,' Sintetos said. At the end of the symposium, the College took all of the students who participated on a whitewater-rafting trip.
Aside from work, 'summer at Colby could be strange, at times,' Morris says. 'At first it was weird being here without any of my usual friends, but I quickly fell into a group of amazing people.'
Sintetos praises the 'tight-knit community' that develops between the approximately 150 students who stay on campus over the summer. Kruithoff agrees, and she says that she made a lot of new friends during her summer on the Hill.
In their free time, students enjoyed swimming at the Colby-Hume Center, hanging out on Runnals Hill, running on the trails in the arboretum and cooking together in the Mary Low Co-Op.
'Summer is a great time to explore Waterville,' Sintetos says. Many students attended the Taste of Greater Waterville festival on Main Street, which featured food from local vendors, live music and other forms of entertainment. Morris volunteered at the International Film Festival at Railroad Square Cinema.
The summer is also a great time to explore the rest of the state. 'There's actually a lot to do in Maine,' Sintetos says. 'A lot of students would go hiking or visit Freeport or Portland.'
Morris and her friends certainly took advantage of all that Maine has to offer. 'We went to pan dances in Blue Hill, attended the Lobster Festival in Rockland and did a great sunrise hike in Acadia on the summer solstice,' she says. 'We all loved exploring Maine.'
Over the summer, the College 'feels like a different place,' Kruithoff says, but in a good way. 'Life slows down'.You really just get to soak it in,' she says. 'It was one of the best summers of my life.'
'We always had wonderful conversations,' Morris says of the group of friends she made last summer, 'and I think everyone agrees that it was a life-changing summer for all of us.'