Students look forward to summer in Oakland, discuss changes in academic environment


Hannah Levine | Staff Photographer

A Pitt student types on a laptop.

By Anna Kuntz, Staff Writer

The end of the spring semester doesn’t always mean saying goodbye to Pittsburgh, something Amelia Carey, a senior English literature major, knows well. 

“The main reason I’m staying this summer is because I’m working for the Pitt Pathfinders,” Carey, who is vice president of Pathfinder Programs said. “However, I have stayed two summers before, and I probably would have stayed anyway. I absolutely love being in Oakland in the summer, so it really wasn’t that difficult of a decision.”

Carey is one of many students who have chosen to stay in Oakland over the summer instead of going home. For her, opportunities within the Pathfinders organization made it an easy decision to stay. 

“My job is to schedule the Pathfinders to work the eight Blue and Gold days that we will be doing this summer,” Carey said. “Currently I’m not really doing much because our first program isn’t until June 24th, but we will do special tours for schools in addition to the general day to day tours that we always give.”

Corinne Hanway, a rising junior studying neuroscience, said that she chose to stay in Oakland over the summer for an internship. 

“I decided to stay at Pitt over the summer because I got a great job here as a medical assistant at a pediatrics clinic at UPMC,” Hanway said. “I’ll be working there as well as at an on-campus lab that I usually work at during the year.”

Sam Ballas, a rising sophomore studying exercise science, said that she chose to stay in Pittsburgh over the summer as a cycling instructor at Zenergy in East Liberty.

“Cycle instructing has always been something I wanted to do, so I decided to stay here and instruct and live with a friend in Penn Township, about thirty minutes from Oakland,” Ballas said.

Ballas said that she is confident in her decision to remain in Pittsburgh over the summer.

“I’ve been really enjoying being here and doing things that I never got to do during the school year,” Ballas said.

Hanway said that the convenient location of her apartment has made her commute to work more feasible.

“I’m living in an off-campus apartment in South O that I lived in for the past school year and will be living in again next year,” Hanway said. “It’s about 15 minutes from both of my jobs and campus in general, so it’s not a bad commute at all and is one that I would consider accessible.”

Carey said that while she previously took advantage of free housing in past summers, she is thankful to be living off campus this year.

“Pathfinders are definitely at an advantage because if you stay for the summer and work during that time, you automatically get free housing, which is super nice,” Carey said. “I stayed in Ruskin Hall two years ago and also last summer, so in regards to the on-campus side, Pathfinders definitely has a leg up.”

Hanway said that disparity between living in Oakland during the school year as opposed to the summer has brought challenges of its own. 

“This is my first summer staying in Oakland, so it’s been kind of an adjustment,” Hanway said. “One of my roommates is staying here as well, but she is studying abroad right now and I’m not used to living alone in our apartment. It feels weird existing in Pittsburgh without the usual stresses of classes that come along with being here.”

Carey said that there are pros and cons to being one of few Pitt students staying in Oakland over the summer.

“Because there are not as many people to hang out with, staying here can be more difficult,” Carey said. “However, it also gives you the lay of the land.” 

Carey said that staying in Oakland over the summer has allowed her to take advantage of faster services from businesses, a convenience that can be rare during the academic year.

“All the restaurants on Forbes Avenue are so much better to go to because there is no one there and the people are always nicer because they don’t have to deal with hundreds of college students all the time,” Carey said. “It really is the silliest thing, but I know that Rite-Aid will always have everything that I want.”

Carey said that she has enjoyed exploring neighborhoods outside of Oakland when she is not working for Pathfinders.

“I think it’s one of those things that people talk about doing all the time, but school gets in the way pretty frequently,” Carey said. “Sometimes during the school year, I just kind of find myself ‘stuck’ in Oakland, and so to be able to have time to visit neighborhoods and spend the whole day there rather than an hour here and there I re