While the thrill of constantly jumping from one activity to another during a traditional Northwestern school year fuels the blood that runs through my veins, I decided to spend my summer focusing on commitments that I usually can’t spend as much time on during the year. I’m taking a cell biology class 3 days a week, working as a tour guide, volunteering at one hospital, hopefully shadowing at another, and trying to instill healthier habits into my daily life. I wrote up a list of summer goals, which include running regularly, not keeping junk food in my apartment (spare cookie dough, which is good for the soul), reading 10 books, finishing a draft of a play, and filling a journal with poetry – hopefully all before the end of the summer. While that all may sound like a lot, I’m honestly really excited to dedicate time to some of my “smaller”, quieter hobbies, the likes of which I can explore while in a coffee shop.

I didn’t want to spend my summer with a heavily committed internship or research position, because I knew I wanted to be able to breathe a bit, invest in my other hobbies, explore Chicago, and travel. In the three weeks of the summer so far, I went to second city, saw a show by a group called the Neofuturists, went to an art fair, ate dinner in Millennium park at a free concert, swam in the lake, went to the Pride Parade, and scouted out several coffee shops. Part of what’s been great about my summer in Evanston is that I’ve been exploring Chicago and my local community in a way that I don’t always have the time to do during the school year.

As I’m taking a class, I’m also working, so that I can save up money to do said exploring. I really enjoy the autonomy that working a summer job gives me.

Sometimes, the best parts about spending the summer at Northwestern are the parts that you don’t actually spend at Northwestern – it’s weeknights in Millennium Park at free concerts, Friday nights at improv shows in Andersonville, Saturday mornings getting bagels in Lincoln park, jumping in the lake on a Sunday, and exploring both in Chicago and all over the world. The summer is when I feel the most independent at Northwestern – because I have fewer strict time commitments, it’s down to me to keep track of my own choices, and it’s up to me to choose where I spend my free time and resources. Northwestern is still my home base that I run back to at the end of the day, but being a student here prepares me to run out to into the rest of the world and chase as many adventures as I can.

–Casey Norlin

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