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Summer at Smith

Every May, as more than 2,000 Smith students pack their bags to head home or to off-season jobs, about 150 of them prepare for a different summer home -- right here on campus.

And while Smith College during the summer is decidedly less lively than during the academic year, some of Smith’s summer student residents like the change.

“I would recommend living at Smith during the summer,” says Nastassia Shields ’09, who is residing in Talbot House and helping coordinate summer programs in the Office of College Relations. “It is so different and it’s so nice to be able to relax in a place as nice as this.”

The summer student contingent includes those with campus jobs, internships, research assistantships or extenuating circumstances. Some stay the entire summer, others for only a few weeks. Most students move to a different residence from their academic year home. This summer, they live in Haven, Parsons, Talbot houses, and Parsons Annex.

Elan McCollum ’08, a psychology major, is spending the summer in Parsons House as she conducts research through a fellowship with Byron Zamboanga, assistant professor of psychology.

“Smith is a lot different during the summer,” says McCollum. “With fewer people around, the houses are quieter, and most everyone works some kind of 9 to 5 job on campus.”

While the number of undergraduates on campus is sparse during the summer, the campus remains active with 40 summer programs, as well as the School for Social Work, which is session during summer.

Now, as the college’s summer residents finish up their jobs and prepare to return to their regular residences, they offer mixed emotions about the impending arrival of autumn.

“Smith is much more beautiful in June and July than during the dreaded Massachusetts winters,” says McCollum, who is from Washington, D.C. “But even with all of the wonderful things about staying at Smith for the summer, I still prefer it during the academic year. All of my friends are on campus then, and there is a lot more to do, both work and play. Though the summer has been a refreshing change, it does get boring sometimes.”

Shenquia Archer ’08, a government major from the Bronx, New York, agrees. “The summer at Smith is less fast-paced compared to life during the academic year,” she says. “I prefer being at Smith during the semester because I don’t have to worry about finding things to do in my spare time.”

But for Shields, summer is the best time to be at Smith. “I have met so many great people here—both faculty and students—that I otherwise would not have gotten the opportunity to meet,” she says.

Then there’s the climate, a factor that possibly only someone like Shields, who is from Stony Hill, near Kingston, Jamaica, can appreciate. “It sure gets hot here during the summer,” she notes. “The weather is great, although I suppose some would argue. I love the heat!”

-Eric Sean Weld

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