Beat the Campus Slump

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

When the spring semester comes to its abrupt end after finals and most students head back to their hometowns or to study abroad, Tech’s campus becomes a shell of its former self. 

Whether you look at the empty street parking spots along Techwood Drive or walk around Tech Green between class periods, campus is eerily empty.

 Although this certainly makes it easier to find a parking spot or quicker to pick up your mail from the post office at the Student Center, the emptiness in a place that is usually overflowing with students can really make you feel uneasy. 

Passing by the off-campus student apartment Inspire and seeing nearly every light turned out by 8 p.m. makes walking into my half-empty on-campus apartment building an even more isolating experience. 

Even lonelier than just being on campus during the summer is doing so while working a full-time internship. 

Working in the corporate world for the first time is already a drastic change of pace from the rhythm of a typical collegiate schedule, but when you must return to a ghost town of your college campus, it can feel incredibly lonely. 

Sitting at your desk alone for eight hours, with the sole exception of your lunch hour, is a significantly more solitary experience than a semester taking classes where your only time alone is when you are asleep. 

Coming home to an empty apartment, then making and eating dinner alone can be  quite a sad experience. The experience of the American corporate commute makes the jarring difference between working and studying even clearer. 

Tech’s campus is very walkable, and in conjunction with the buses, living on campus means you rarely need to drive yourself anywhere on a daily basis. 

On the other side of the world, while working an internship in Dublin, my daily commute was a much less lonely experience,  consisting of a safe and reliable public transport commute in tandem with a short walk through a dense and lively city center.

In contrast, my current commute consists of driving alone in my car through the downtown connector, which is my least favorite road in Atlanta to drive on. 

For this change of pace to be positive instead of depressing, there were specific steps that I had to take. 

First, I reached out to my friends who were also doing internships, and we scheduled times during the week to make our dinners together, adding much-needed social interaction to our lives during the long work week. 

The most significant change that I had to make was working towards feeling at peace when sitting alone with my thoughts. 

With the hustle and bustle of my life during a semester where I am taking classes and participating in the student life events Tech has to offer, there is rarely a time that I spend alone in the same way that I now find myself doing on an everyday basis. 

Learning to accept the feelings and experiences that come with doing this, or at least working towards learning to accept them, is certainly an important part of adapting to the rhythm of a full-time job.

Noticing all of the ways that campus has emptied for the summer semester highlights all of my favorite parts of Tech in full swing: the vibrant student life, the way you will never be alone in the library (even at 3 a.m.), being so close to all of your friends all of the time and the way that there are corners of campus where every single person can find themselves feeling at home.