Mara's Summer on Campus

For many of us here at Williams, the end of May means finishing up your finals and leaving Williamstown, whether it may be going back home, traveling abroad, or working an internship in a big city. For others, like Mara Kipnis ‘22, summertime meant staying on campus. 


This summer, Mara worked in a Cognitive Psychology Research Lab with Professor Kornell. She lived in Faye in Currier Quad, ate her meals at Paresky, and often hung out with other students who were also living on campus for the summer. 


Although this may sound a lot like the regular school year, Mara discovered new things about Williamstown she would have never noticed before. She did things like attending a farmer’s market at the end of Spring Street and going to a jazz concert hosted by President Mandel. Most importantly, though, Mara reports, “I definitely didn’t realize how beautiful it was here.” The sunsets, the mountains, the atmosphere  … Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate Williams’s beauty with all of the stress and anxiety students face during the school year.


At the same time, Mara was honest about some struggles of living on campus for the summer. She expressed that, “I found it harder to put myself out there and be social,” and, because there were less organized activities, she found that most students stayed within themselves and the groups they had previously formed. Although she reports that she spent a lot of time by herself and often felt lonely, she was lucky to have friends and family visit her almost every weekend. 


Mara concluded that, although she had an amazing experience and loved working in Professor Kornell’s lab, living on campus again next summer would not be her first choice. She reports, “It was a great opportunity and experience, but I think I might need a break from Williamstown.” I don’t think anyone could blame her for that. 


So, if you are considering staying on campus for the summer, put yourself in Mara’s shoes. It might be a great opportunity to appreciate Williamstown’s beauty and ambiance, but if you do so, you better make sure you have someone or something to keep you company!