The Portland State campus during the summer always feel so strange to me. You’ve decided to stick around but see it become more and more deserted as students leave for the break. Even with classes going on, it can still feel like a bit of a ghost town. Groups and restaurants pause for a few months creating a feeling of limbo.
Yet this is my third year of being on campus and taking classes during the summer term. Why? Despite becoming a somewhat discombobulating change, it’s also one of my favorite times. I love the quieter atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be lonely or boring. Though regular school-year activities may be taking a break, there are plenty of opportunities to keep you from becoming a hermit if you do a little digging. And I’ve already done some for you.
Despite being scaled back, campus isn’t completely shut down over the summer. There may be altered hours, but there are still things to do on campus. The Academic Student and Recreation Center will still be open and has an entire schedule of events and classes going on during the summer. Center for Student Health and Counseling will be open as well, so take care of yourselves.
There’s a whole city out there. Keep up to date on events happening around Portland. Find festivals, concerts, and whatever other events may be happening. (Did you know there’s a Robin Hood festival?) Check out the weekly Vanguard on- and off-campus events guides.
Finding a job for just the summer months can be difficult, but Handshake can help. If you have time to kill, why not find a place to volunteer? Many nonprofits do not require sustained commitment in order to get involved. Some don’t even require long trainings. A break from classes is a great time to give back and use your extra time for a good cause. There are always places looking for help and volunteer search engines make it easy to find a good fit, whatever your schedule or interests.
It’s going to be quieter around here for the next few months, so enjoy it. Spend some time outside on the park blocks and knock out some books on your to-read list. Go on a coffee shop crawl. With friends and communities gone until the fall, it can be a lonely time of the year—but only if you let it. So do your best to get out of your apartment, find different things to do, and meet some new people. The smaller class sizes and housing situations can either be lonely or a chance to connect with some cool people. So stay cool, remember your sunscreen, and discover something new.