It’s true that Ann Arbor empties out when the undergrads evacuate for the summer. Sandwich shops that used to have half-hour waits at lunchtime are suddenly first-come-everybody-served. You can just waltz into a study carrel in Hatcher and enjoy the fact that you might have a whole floor to yourself. The halls of most buildings are dark until you walk through them—and even when the lights flicker on in front of you, they seem to be doing so against their will.
It would be easy—especially for someone from a big city like me—to mistake the quiet for dullness. It does take me a while to get acclimated to the lack of students grabbing at my time and the giant swathes of un-scheduled calendar, but Ann Arbor is more than the bustle of school. In the summer, there’s time for taking a book to the Arb and kicking back for two—three—four—hours. Maybe more. There’s time to move from coffee shop to coffee shop and, if the mood strikes you, to compare all the city’s soy lattes.
Boredom is, according to Kierkegaard, “the root of all evil, the despairing refusal to be oneself.” Boredom, according to my mother, is how you diagnose your own laziness. Either way, the apparent slothfulness of summer days in Ann Arbor is nothing more than an illusion: the city continues to provide entertainment, but you have to find it yourself. It’s easy to keep busy when the University’s academic life keeps you on your toes. In the summer, you both get to and have to fill your days yourself.
A few options: have you ever gone to the Natural History Museum? Did you know that there are “star talks” at the Planetarium every weekend? Have you been to the Art Museum yet? Speaking of art, have you ever been inside the Ann Arbor Art Center? Have you ever tried growing your own tomatoes? Have you seen the lineup for the Michigan Theater’s “Cinetopia” event from May 31-June 3? Have you been inside every store on Main Street? State Street? All the streets in between? (Even Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Book Store?) Did you know that Peaceable Kingdom has a tiny fairy door outside on its façade? Have you ever volunteered at the 826 Robot Supply Co.?
See? There’s plenty to do.
About the Author
Bessie McAdams, Ph.D. Student, English
Published in: Student Voices