Payton Jarzyna is a senior pursuing a dual degree in creative writing and advertising. During the school year she works as a waitress. In her free time you can find her reading thrillers, watching Succession, or shopping for cool necklaces
One of the major draws of UIUC is the vibrant social scene. But over the summer, when most students go home, campus becomes a lot quieter. The Quad is usually empty, and the study spots that are normally crowded are open.
I always went home over the summer because I expected campus summers to be lonely and boring. Still, leaving the college town of Champaign for the big city of Chicago every break was always quite the jump. Not to mention, going from my own schedule to being back under my parents’ control could be vexing. This year, I decided to stay in Champaign over the summer break.
Although I expected campus to be a ghost town, there are still plenty of students in Champaign. Leaving my apartment in the morning, I see other students walking to their part time jobs or catching the bus to their research positions. Although the line at the Union Starbucks isn’t quite as long as it is during the year, I typically still have a wait.
There are plenty of job opportunities over the summer, some through the university and some outside of it. Facilities like the Illini Union Bookstore, the Illini Union, and the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) are always hiring summer workers. Downtown Champaign has a slew of restaurants, and pretty much every shop on Green Street is looking for employees. These job openings give students the chance to meet people, as well as gain professional and interpersonal skills (oh yeah, and make money!).
Research Park also offers a variety of internships for any major. From electrical hardware internships to graphic design internships, there are a variety of options to acquire career experience. UIUC also offers job opportunities through the university including multimedia assistant jobs and marketing internships. There are also plenty of research openings through the university or Carle health in Champaign.
Some facilities, like the ARC, are basically empty. I remember how crowded the pool would get during the school year, turning into a battleground for the best spot in the sun. Over the summer, I have my pick of chairs outside, and there’s plenty of room to swim.
Staying on campus isn’t as lonely as one might expect it to be. There are plenty of opportunities to make new friends, gain new skills, and prepare for a successful career. Not to mention the added perks of having fewer students on campus. Prospective students can also get a taste of campus through pre-college summer programs. If you can’t find something to do in your hometown or are nervous about leaving campus, stay in Champaign over the summer!