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South Oakland, My Home Away from Home

You know, there’s nothing I love more than the neighborhood of South Oakland in Pittsburgh. For many of us Pitt students, it has become our home away from home. There’s just something about being here that warms my heart especially with the smell of sewage and pizza from Sorrento’s (which is ultimately the best).

The first thing you may notice is the increasing amount of construction, constantly growing for our new panthers who join us. The city of Pittsburgh knows Pitt is construction central right now, so they were gracious enough to make sure we never forget by tearing up our own streets. I may even miss the taste of lead in my water because it really has strengthened my immune system. However, what I have really appreciated is the construction workers waking me up at 7am to remind me that I’m alive. At least I won’t be late for class ever again!

Every now and then we get visitors into the city since Schenley Park is right next door. No, not people coming to visit Pitt as a potential school; I’m talking about the woodland creatures. There are the occasional deer or two that stroll through the community garden located across the street from Bouquet Gardens on Oakland Ave. It really made my morning when a possum hissed at me on my way to Public Speaking last Friday. 

Besides students trying to make their way home, screaming at one another after drunken adventures at Gene’s or G Door, there’s always a helicopter that flies over. It’s really satisfying knowing we’re so close to the best healthcare in the area. It’s also good to know when you have to help your friend to the ER at UPMC Presbyterian after one too many shots. Thursday nights, am I right?

To those of us who may be under 21, do you remember when you use to get all dolled up in your Towers dorm room to stroll the streets for the open parties? There was always a hope that some upperclassman would take pity and welcome you in. I guess it all depended if your favorite frat was throwing down or not. I am not that upperclassman so please stop trying. Don’t worry, your time will come to go to Trivia Night at Mario’s.

As the warm weather begins to greet us here in Pittsburgh, you may even catch the bass in someone’s backyard. It’s so comforting to hear it through the walls of my tiny apartment on Atwood when it’s 11pm and I have to wake up early the next morning for work. Thank you, college boys next door. I’ll miss you when I move out in August.

However, Thursday nights turn into rough Friday mornings. When 9 am rolls around and it’s time for everyone to get to class, you can see the sidewalks covered in stranded French fries and empty pizza boxes. Unfortunately, maybe one or two reminders of the night before and those who managed to live and tell the tale.

Sometimes I want to pull my hair out when the streets are so overcrowded that I have to park three blocks away from my actual apartment. It seems like the whole universe is made up of this neighborhood. Even with the chaos that fills the streets as students return for sleep or to skip class, it’s really heartwarming whenever you see other people just trying to find the motivation to get through the rest of the semester. The world is a little less lonely when you see someone hunched over with their backpack that weighs 40 lbs.

Want to know the best part about living here though? Every morning I get to wake up and see Cathy, the beautiful Cathedral of Learning, standing tall as she basks in the morning glow. It reminds me that I’m alive (and also about the 10 page paper that is due at 11:59pm).  

It’ll be a bit weird living here this summer when there are no cars, no students and no smashed beer bottles. As the semester starts to come to a close, all we can do is take advantage of every opportunity possible! 

There’s no other place I want to live from August to April!

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