State College: the pinnacle place to learn, have fun, and—most importantly—grow. But what does it look like when only a fraction of the usual population is around?
Believe it or not, life at Penn State continues even when class is not in session. There are some people who decide to stay in sunny 16801 over summer break. If you are one of these students, you might be asking yourself what you can do to stay busy and continue growing given the circumstances.
Valley has talked to a few students who have made the choice to soak up everything that State College has to offer on and “off-season” so that anyone considering spending a summer in Happy Valley could get a peek into how life would continue to unfold.
“Summer at PSU is when I think State College truly comes alive,” says Minaya Ismayilova, a senior majoring in psychology and neuroscience. “Unlike during the school year, a lot of fairs pop up here and there, plus you see many more families and kids strolling around, making it the family-oriented place. I’m lucky [to be] able to experience this other world at PSU with most of my friends who happen to be staying here as well.”
With events circulating the area that aren’t present during the school year, it offers a lot more opportunity for fun. The annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, Summer’s Best Music Fest and the Centre County Annual Grange Fair are just a few of the most interesting and popular events to attend over the four months students have off.
Eric Kantner, senior and biobehavioral health major, takes time to enjoy opportunities that are offered year round but may not be logical given a scholar-oriented schedule.
“One of the best things to do during summer session is to climb Mount Nittany,” says Kantner. “It was always on my Penn State bucket list, but I never had enough free time during the semester to go on the hike. It’s really great to see State [College] from a different perspective while also getting some exercise in.”
Another way to stay busy and continue growing over the summer is by taking advantage of leadership opportunities available to all eligible students.
Alexis Fenstermacher, sophomore nursing major, has taken this initiative and started work on Penn State’s New Student Orientation Team.
“Keeping busy with a leadership position through the university is a big help,” says Fenstermacher. “[I am] meeting new students and their families almost every day. I also love keeping up with fitness at the IM Building or doing things I didn’t have much time for in the school year, like going to the arboretum or enjoying the short lines at Chipotle.”
Overall, summers in State College are nothing to be feared; rather, they are an opportunity to be taken advantage of.