Editorial: Leaving Pittsburgh for the summer? Maybe think twice

The Umbrella Sky Project, developed in Portugal by the creative agency Sextafiera Producoes, is featured in the center of strings of vendors at the Three River Arts Festival on June 4. (Photo by Anna Bongardino | Visual Editor)

Since we still operate over the summer, many Pitt News editors and writers get the chance to spend their school-free months in Pittsburgh. And in our last print edition of the summer, we wanted to reflect on a trend we’ve noticed here year after year — we’re far lonelier in Oakland from May to August.

Because Oakland’s population is primarily comprised of students, there’s a mass exodus each summer back to parents’ houses or hometowns. But as we’ve learned by being in Pittsburgh for the entire summer, the city has a lot to offer while its students are away, from free festivals to classes to community events — and if you can, it’s worth sticking around to see for yourself.

Living in Oakland for the summer affords you the opportunity to really learn what Pittsburgh is like. It’s easy to fall into the student bubble of our college town, and the summer is a perfect time to get out. You will learn what Pittsburgh heat is like, or how friendly the long-term Oakland residents are, or become so comfortable with the public transportation that your friends will turn to you to direct them.

In addition to the educational experience, Pittsburgh in the summer is fun, with free festivals and events throughout the warm months.

One of the most visible events that happens in Pittsburgh every summer is the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The free annual 10-day festival hosts musical acts from around the world, public art installations, film screenings and a diverse artists’ market that features local crafts. Throw in Picklesburgh, the Three Rivers Regatta and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and you have a summer packed full of events you can only find in Pittsburgh.

But not everything in life is free, and living in Oakland over the summer provides students the opportunity to continue working the jobs they do during the school year in order to fund costlier endeavours. With new restaurants and local businesses popping up nearly every day, summer is a great time to work hard and save what you can.

If you have the chance to stay in Pittsburgh for the summer, you’re in luck — the benefits you receive as a student, such as free rides on public transportation and access to facilities such as Trees Hall or Hillman Library, are still valid.

And classes continue all summer on campus, so if you’re in the city already, why not consider taking a class or two? Taking summer classes can make the traditional fall and spring semesters much easier, and often helps students work toward multiple degrees. Pitt offers flexible scheduling in the summer, and has classes ranging from full term to four-week programs. One of the most convenient aspects of summer classes is their staggered start dates, which allows you the flexibility to travel if you can.

For us, it all boils down to independence. Living on your own in Pittsburgh will make you more comfortable on campus for the rest of your time at Pitt. But it will also empower you — living here as a resident is different than living here as a student, and so by living through both you will learn invaluable life lessons about independence and autonomy.

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