Many graduates opting for summer in Walla Walla
As a recently graduated senior from Whitman College, all the things you wanted to do with your education are there for the taking. So now what?
While a number of the Class of 2012 have returned home or traveled elsewhere to pursue jobs, internships and other opportunities, many are choosing to spend the summer following their senior year in Walla Walla.
“I think many stay in [Walla Walla] for the summer because they found a job or internship before heading to graduate school or a long-term job that begins in the fall,” said Yonas Fikak ’12. “Some are still searching for a job and would rather stay here where there is cheap rent.”
Affordable housing was a common theme among the graduates.
“If you’re smart, housing can be dirt cheap,” said Kyle Scott ’12.
With most housing leases beginning in June, many returning students look to rent out the houses they will inhabit during the upcoming school year if they don’t choose to remain at Whitman over the summer. The practice, which results in what Scott dubs “summer house-sitting,” makes housing extremely affordable around Whitman campus during the summer months.
Availability of job opportunities on and off campus is a big reason graduates choose to stick around.
“The main reason I decided to stay this summer was because of a great opportunity to work for a private practice attorney in town,” said Shannon Morrissey ’12.
Fikak said the primary reason he is staying in Walla Walla is that his job as an aide with Whitman Conferences & Events gives him a way to earn money until a new job starts in the fall.
“I am only here in Walla Walla for the summer; I am heading to New York to serve with City Year AmeriCorps starting in August,” he said.
Whitman offers a number of perks to graduates during the summer: Baker Ferguson Fitness Center, Reid Campus Center, Sherwood Athletic Center and the Penrose Library all remain open during the week. The Outdoor Program schedules trips on weekends, and pick-up games of soccer and ultimate Frisbee are a common sight on Ankeny Field. This fosters an atmosphere that Scott likens to a “country club.”
“The weather’s great, and the community is rock solid, socially,” Scott said.
For graduates who have never stayed for a summer in Walla Walla before, the prospect of a summer on Whitman’s campus is thrilling.
“I was excited to have a couple more months to enjoy Walla Walla without the stress of classes,” said Morrissey. “I had never spent the summer here and wanted to experience the Farmers’ Markets, [baseball] games and berry-picking before I head off to whatever’s next.”
Before they bid Whitman farewell, these recent graduates have plenty they want to do in town and around campus.
“I would like to go the wheat fields during sunset and sunrise before I leave Walla Walla,” said Fikak.
Morrissey aims to attempt something a bit more adventurous.
“I still haven’t been cliff jumping at Palouse Falls,” she said. “That’s the one thing I want to be sure to do before I leave.”
No matter where their lives may take them when summer turns to fall, these grads are treasuring the time they have left in Walla Walla.
“Why’s everybody so obsessed with traveling and stuff?” Scott asked, laughing. “Let me tell you, I’ve traveled ’round the world and it’s just more of the same. The Wallas are solid!”
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