Semester Closing: Student Plans for Summer and Abroad


Courtesy of Sarah Jones

Students are gearing up to leave campus for the summer.

Nikki Merrill, Staff Writer

With the spring semester coming to an end, students have their sights set on the summer. Quality time with friends and family, travel plans, internships and just the luxury of free time awaits on the other side of final exams. 

Sophomore Anna Mark Helwigh will be returning home to Denmark in June. Schools, shops, restaurants, museums and hairdressers have been closed since the end of December, but Helwigh is confident in her native country’s ability to reopen in time for the summer.

“The Danish Government has made a reopening plan that will gradually lift the coronavirus restrictions in two-week intervals,” Helwigh said. “I think the government is doing what they can to give us a normal summer, so I think Denmark will be relatively open over the summer.”

As part of a normal summer in Denmark, Helwigh looks forward to celebrating Saint John’s Eve on June 23. Saint John’s Eve closely coincides with the summer solstice, otherwise known as “midsummer” in the Northern Hemisphere. The traditions of the holiday bring people all across the country together.

“We get together with friends and family around a huge bonfire in the town, neighborhood or at the beach,” Helwigh said. “Around sunset the bonfire is lit and everyone stands around the fire and sings ‘the midsummer song.’”

After Saint John’s Eve, Helwigh will compete in some high level track meets in Europe. She runs on the track and cross country team at the University and recently set a personal best and school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:05.86.

“I plan on racing at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bergen, Norway this summer,” Helwigh said. “I made the standard in the 1500-meter and the 3000-meter steeplechase, but I do not know which event I’m going to do yet. I just look forward to going on the trip with my teammates and seeing everyone compete…I might stay in Norway with some of my friends for a couple of days after the European Athletics U23 Championships. We are talking about renting an Airbnb near a lake and just have fun, relax and enjoy the summer.”

Other students also plan to travel this summer. Sophomore Joy Kim will travel the east coast with her family.

“With my brother leaving for college in the fall, my parents will have an empty nest, so we’re planning to go on a road trip from Georgia to Maine,” Kim said. “It’ll be our last family trip before we all go our separate ways.”

Kim and her family plan to go camping at Acadia National Park in Maine. The park boasts stunning forests, rocky beaches and impressive peaks. If one keeps an eye out, you may catch sight of moose, bears, whales and seabirds in their natural habitat. 

Other summer destinations include New York. Maggie MacDonald, a J.D. Candidate in the class of 2023, plans to go to the Hamptons to celebrate her first year of law school here at the University. 

Senior Margaret Hyde will be moving to New Jersey to start a new job in healthcare communication. Later on, she will also be traveling to San Antonio to visit her boyfriend in the Air Force. 

Other students will use the summer to prepare for study abroad in the coming semester. Sophomore A.J. Fezza plans to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland this fall. 

“It’s a gorgeous school with amazing courses and an amazing history,” Fezza said. “This is my first time ever going to the U.K., and I could not be more excited.”

The Office of Education Abroad said in a recent email to study abroad students that they hope to have a better understanding of what, if any, international travel may be approved from the University by June. Despite the precariousness of the pandemic, Fezza is optimistic that the study abroad opportunities will hold up.

“By the time school there starts in September, both the U.S. and the U.K. will have likely achieved herd immunity, so I don’t see any reason why study abroad should be cancelled again,” Fezza said.

Evidently, students have a lot to look forward to this summer. If all goes well, a great summer will serve as a springboard into an even better fall semester.