I’m sure you’ve heard many times, from many people, that your college years feel like they fly by in four seconds rather than four years. As a rising senior, I’m here to tell you that those wise people are correct; however, I’m not going to be one of those people to tell you “never graduate”, because I strongly believe there is a lot to look forward to post graduation. Instead, I’m going to tell you to live in the moment and stay present while scrounging for more time on campus; by staying in StagCountry for an entire summer.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little hesitant about staying on campus for the summer when I was first offered a summer internship position in Norwalk, CT about halfway through the spring 2018 semester. At the time, I only knew of one other friend staying on campus. Then, slowly but surely, more people started accepting internships around Fairfield, and before I knew it my friends and I established a final SummerStags groupchat containing 12 people – we knew it was going to be a wild summer.
How many times have you said, “If I didn’t have to study” or, “If I didn’t have an essay” college would be perfect? If you stay on campus during the summer, that’s exactly what it is. I lived in a townhouse for ten weeks with three of my closest friends and the summer did nothing but bring us closer together. My friends and I would all go our separate ways during the day – my engineering friends would go to their internships at Medtronoic, my environmental studies roommate went out to save the world, my friends who worked on campus to the Academic and Career Development Center, Admissions, Conference and Events, Marketing, etc. At the end of the day, we would come back together to have family dinners, play games, go on adventures around town and, of course, Mondays were reserved for “The Bachelorette” (sorry, not sorry Davis).
I’m sure you’re wondering, “But what about my family?” Sure, you haven’t seen them all year because you’re at school, so now you want to see and spend time with them. Take it from someone who was on campus for fall semester, went abroad over winter break, returned to Fairfield spring semester, stayed at Fairfield to work senior week, then continued staying on campus straight through for 10 weeks of a summer internship: I missed my family, but I don’t regret anything. It’s not that I didn’t want to be at home (trust me, I have two nieces who mean the world to me), I just wanted to do something different.
Living at home, seeing the same people from your hometown, working at the same summer job, is a comfort zone. This was the summer before my senior year and quite possibly the last real “summer” I had. How would you want to spend it? And after all, you can always go home for weekend visits (though you won’t want to because odds are your friends have come up with something fun to do).
Picture this: It’s the fourth of July and it falls on a Wednesday. It doesn’t make sense for you or your friends to go home, so you buy decorations at Party City, get decked out in red, white and blue, play games while enjoying homemade pulled pork (thanks Nellie) and Sangria (only for the friends who were 21 of course), watch National Treasure in honor of the holiday, and then you start to hear fireworks. Being curious, you head up to Bellarmine to see if you can locate them from on top of the hill. Once you get up there, you are immediately welcomed by a sea of fireflies. Beyond the fireflies, in the distance stands the Long Island Sound with over 30 different firework shows taking place at the exact same time.
This is what I experienced this past Fourth of July, and it was beautiful. It was a moment that no one else shared except for me and my friends. And that will forever be one of my favorite memories at Fairfield.
Having a summer birthday has always been something I hated because I’m not in school to celebrate with my friends. That changed this summer. My birthday fell on my last weekend on campus. My friends surprised me by taking me out to dinner on my actual birthday to none other than Brick & Wood. Once Friday came around, they surprised me again by taking me to an escape room, then out for Hibachi. My best friend from home as well as one of my other best friends who is a nursing student at Fairfield (who drove four hours while still wearing her scrubs from her shift) came to surprise me. We then went back to campus and did something we never thought any of us would do – we threw ourselves a townhouse party. There were no random people, there was no song we didn’t like, we all just enjoyed each other’s company and celebrated not only my birthday, but our last weekend of the summer together.
So, why should you spend your summer on campus? Once you get past the first week of being confused as to why you think you have homework to do, when you obviously don’t, summer on campus is amazing. Without the stress of having work to do or a test to study for, I was able to actually learn how to cook (although I will recommend having a fire extinguisher close by for the nights that you become overly ambitious) and explore new places. Sure, going home, living with my parents and working the same summer job would have been comfortable; however, this summer I stepped out of that familiar, comfortable zone. I learned how to use the Metro North and the Norwalk Bus Transit, I was surrounded by new people every single day, I worked with students from different universities and learned from supervisors with different perspectives and work habits.
I also developed inside jokes and deeper connections with amazing people that no one else on campus shares (plus other college friends *cough kyost cough* were sure to visit anyways and became extra roommates). I found confidence in myself and embraced a newfound independence. I gained an extra 10 weeks at the place I call home, and I can confidently say that my last summer before adulting kicks in was the best summer of my life. Thank to everyone who was a part of it, go stags.