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“Lively” and “Vibrant”: Students enjoy spending summer in Oakland

When he isn’t working at his summer internship, Pitt student Justin Piel enjoys biking in Schenley Park and spending time with friends. He described the atmosphere in Oakland over the summer as “relaxed.”

“The warm weather means many people are out on their porches, and the pace is slower in general,” Piel, a senior urban studies and history major, said. “Even the people in summer classes seem more laid back compared to fall or spring semester.”

Many Pitt students choose to stay on-campus during the summer term to take summer classes, work at a job or internship or stay in their off-campus housing. Piel chose to stay on campus for an internship and enjoys the “general freedom” of staying in Oakland over the summer. 

“Even though I have an internship, I have more free time now than during the school year,” Piel said. “The separation between work and free time is clearer without extracurriculars and studying.” 

Sophia Bear, a senior bioengineering major, feels that campus is calmer, but not totally empty. Bear stayed in Oakland this summer because she is a research assistant in a lab.

“There are less people around, but luckily, it never feels dead on campus,” Bear said. “There are lots of people enjoying the warm weather, especially around Cathy and Schenley Plaza and Park.”

Jake Rosen, a senior political science and economics major, believes that spending summer on campus is better with friends. 

“For a full Oakland summer, I’d say make sure you have some friends with you,” Rosen said. “Without them, you’ll have no one to enjoy the city with.”

One of Bear’s favorite Oakland summer memories was hanging out on Flagstaff Hill with friends. She feels that she has more opportunities to socialize with people than where she is originally from. 

“There are less people around, so that makes the social scene quieter, but I also think some people have more time in the summer than during the semester,” Bear said. “The people who stay in Oakland are more available to do things.”

Piel also enjoys the social scene over the summer and frequently spends time on his porch in South Oakland with friends.

“Many people are gone, but there are still enough people that the social scene is vibrant,” Piel said. “People from other colleges that are living in Pittsburgh over the summer come to Oakland for social events as well.”

Rosen, who is interning with a state representative, appreciates the ability to make plans on a whim while living in the city. 

“Living in Pittsburgh allows you to do so much stuff on a moment’s notice,” Rosen said. “I can make impulsive decisions to go to the park with friends and play sports, go to the Strip District on a whim and do a lot of different stuff in such close proximity.”

Rosen thinks that the businesses on Forbes and Fifth are less crowded. He was surprised by shorter wait times at establishments that are usually crowded during the school year. 

“Overall, the businesses on the street seem to be less crowded,” Rosen said. “I’ve seen enough people inside to keep it going, but the hustle and bustle has died down a bit.”

Rosen recommends that everyone who chooses to stay in Oakland over the summer explore Pittsburgh in their free time. 

“Get out there and actually explore the city you’ve chosen as your home for the last four years,” Rosen said. “Being here over the summer gives you a unique opportunity to go explore the city without having to worry about your exam the next morning. You have free public transit and hopefully some money saved from working. It’s the perfect chance to take advantage of living in the city.” 

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