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Pros & Cons Of Spending A Summer In State College

The spring semester is coming to a close, and that may leave many questioning what they should do this summer.

Should you venture back home or spread your wings and spend a summer on your own? Believe it or not, State College may be a perfect summer destination. There’s usually always something to do, and when there’s not, you can easily make your own adventure right in the heart of Happy Valley.

However, like everything in life, there are always up and downs. With that said, here are the pros and cons to spending a summer in State College.


Shorter Lines

Have you ever craved Chick-fil-A but talked yourself out of it after seeing the dreaded drive-through line that takes up half of North Atherton? During the summer, this line, for the most part, vanishes. The days of waiting for a half-hour for waffle fries are gone. Chick-fil-A isn’t the only line that shortens. In fact, most bars will also suddenly have much lower attendance when most of the student body isn’t hanging around in the borough.

We will give a warning, though. Once summer tour programs begin, you may need to avoid the Creamery that day. The folks love their ice cream, and they’re going to form some long lines.

Time To Explore

During the school year, it’s not always possible to break out of the barriers of downtown State College. The summer gives you time to become a true local. Last summer, I was able to try Meyer Dairy, check out most of the trails surrounding the Arboretum, and visit the Nittany Mall for the first time (yes, it was terrifying!). I have already started compiling my list of where I want to go this summer, too.

Life really slows down in State College when you’re here in the summer, and you’d be wise to take advantage of it to try some new things while you’re out of classes. Events like Arts Fest really make summers in Happy Valley stand out, and you’d be wise to check them out!

It’s Beautiful

Seriously, though. As any Penn State student knows, Happy Valley is a lush paradise when the fall semester begins, a barren tundra for seven months, and a spring garden for two weeks before you’re kicked out at the end of the spring semester. What gives?

To truly appreciate the best weather State College provides, stick around for a summer. You’ll love the green trees, blooming flowers, and summer air that makes evening walks to die for. Penn State’s campus is especially lovely in the summer when most of the student body isn’t there to crowd the sidewalks, too.

Great Parking

If you have a car up here, you know the constant struggle of finding parking anywhere across campus or downtown. In the same way that lines disappear, your parking-fueled headaches will, too. You will suddenly be able to find parking on the street or in parking garages without much trouble. You won’t need to park half a mile away from your destination, which is pretty sweet.

Not Wasting Your Rent Money

If you have a lease during the summer, why not stay? I love my parents and visiting my hometown, but I also feel bad wasting money on a space that I’m not even staying in. If your lease runs through the summer, don’t waste your or your parents’ money. Even if you decide to not live in State College full time this summer, take some time to come back and get your money’s worth.


You Might Get Lonely

I would be lying if I said the first few days by myself weren’t hard. My normal day-to-day friends were suddenly not all there, and that’s tough to adjust to at first. However, the time alone was really good for me. I got to focus on…well…me!

I read more, spent time outside, and connected with new people. As college students, it feels like we are always surrounded by people and never have time for ourselves. Summer is the perfect time to find you! Despite a few teary-eyed phone calls to my mom, I found a lot of comfort in being alone, and you might, too.

There Will Still Be Students

At the end of June, around 2,000 freshmen will begin their Penn State careers during Summer Session II. Personally, I feel like having students again is a nice sight, but I can see where others may not enjoy young, first-time students coming to campus and trying to get their lay of the land.

There will be some line-waiting once again, especially during move-in weekend. Plus, they aren’t exactly in their rooms studying every weekend and are thirsty to get their hands on any alcohol or into literally any party. The big plus is that they are usually scared of upperclassmen, so you should be covered.

Feeling Trapped

There’s a lot to do in State College during the summer, but some days, you’re bound to feel a little trapped in Happy Valley. These are the days that I would push myself a little bit farther outside of State College or take a long walk deeper in the woods.

There finally came a week when I felt so trapped that I knew it was time for a break to go visit my parents. I was able to recharge even more and have some good, home-cooked meals. Don’t be afraid to call a timeout on your State College summer! It might end up helping you enjoy it all even more when all is said and done.

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About the Author

Dana June Nunemacher

Dana is a senior, who is studying public relations. She is from the 570 and yes, she has watched The Office. Her passions in life include drinking unsweetened iced tea and spreading her love for agriculture (yee haw)!

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