Students left the spring semester with plans, or ideas of what their summer would look like: internships, camp, family holidays, or even a full-time job. As the campus suddenly got quiet, faculty and staff also got a change of pace in their schedules. So, what have people been up to this summer?
Like Delwys Glokpor, a senior from Lomé, Togo, many students interned with companies and organizations that relate to their major. Glokpor “was recruited as a mobile developer” and worked as a full-time intern for Intuit, a California-based personal finance company. While staying at the Asher House in St. Louis for the summer, he found peace and quiet for his work and explored the area in his free time. A memorable thing for Glokpor this summer was to see all his hard work come to fruition: “I did a full demo to my team first and then I had to talk in front of all the directors of the group I was working with.”
The three-month period of summer break is generally a trigger for change and novelty. Some students like freshman Jonathan Keller, from Germany, take that time to go home and work. Keller “work[ed] at a restaurant for about 2 months and then came back to the US and went to Colorado to work at Adventure Unlimited Ranches for about 3 weeks.” Keller’s highlight was being able to spend time with his brothers all while working at camp.
For junior Kannon Gill, camp is an unbeatable option. She is grateful for her counseling experience at Camp Newfound, in Harrison, Maine. “We could be doing so many other things besides playing these childhood games, but we did,” she said. Gill shares that the lesson she learnt from this summer that she will be taking with her in this upcoming year is “trying to have fun and not caring about what people think” – maybe easier said than done? That can be a goal for this year.
Oh, when in Maine!
Professor Annabelle Marquez, who is originally from Puerto Rico, had a ‘wild’ time in the northern state. She took an especially demanding online course. “It was a combination of history, archaeology, Spanish, and culture,” she said. This course was a prime opportunity for her to take a deeper dive in ancient civilizations and found passion in that research. Once she concluded and “completed the course with flying colors,” she took some time to herself in the vibrant, leafy, Maine woods. In parallel to Keller, the freshman from Germany, who “learnt some forestry out there and some research stuff which hopefully helps me with my bio classes,” Marquez took that time to self-reflect and be away from everyday distractions. “I wanted … to see if I could survive by myself for an entire week without any electricity, no running water, nothing,” she said. “And so, I stayed by myself for a week. It was so much fun,” she added. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Marquez talks about finding peace and being able to appreciate nature: hearing all the different sounds and smelling the outdoors. In her own words, this experience “transformed” her, and she finally says: “next summer, I want to do it for longer.”
While all this action is happening in Maine, Elsah has a different feeling to it. Pius Sempumbu, a sophomore from Uganda, had planned to go to camp but he had a last-minute change of plans. Instead, he worked all summer on campus: at the dining room, the C-store and sometimes the athletics department. Between work, gaming, working out, and hanging out with friends, Sempumbu describes his summer as “kinda rough” as all the days merged. He highlights finding joy when discovering different trails along the bluffs and would go on walks during his breaks to vary the monotony.
Campus wasn’t buzzing anymore which incites change and adaptation for students who stay in the blazing heat and humidity of the Midwest. This also impacts faculty and staff who live nearby or still work during the summer. Rhonda Cox, a housekeeper, talks about a change of pace during the summer, but “we still had to maintain everything, and keep everything good and clean and sanitized and there were still students here on campus.” When asked about her summer highlight, she thinks of the student workers she met and connected with.“You’re kind of like a mother figure in a way,” she said.
This summer was quite eventful, and some would even go to say that it could be a summer for the books. Memories are made from the simplest things: belly-laughing on a day off, going into the woods or being with people you appreciate. Ups and downs have been faced and overcome, but the growth and joy of students, faculty, and staff on campus have already made this semester feel like home.