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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Summer in a college ghost town

Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

Many refer to Chico as a ghost town once all the students return to their permanent homes for the summer. This can be said to be true due to all the free parking, less traffic and lack of red solo cups everywhere.

When I told my friends I would be staying in Chico for the summer I always got the same reaction, sympathy. Several warned me about the extreme boredom I would endure and the unbearable heat.

As college students we tend to forget that besides being a college town Chico is a permanent home to hundreds of families and simply because most of the students go home for a couple of months does not mean the town stops running, the complete opposite actually.

Having stayed here for the entire summer I spoke with many locals who expressed that they loved when the students went home because they got their little quiet town back and of course all the free parking downtown is a plus.

However, as I caught up with friends they could not believe that I had not died of boredom and that Chico continued on fine without them. Clearly Chico continues to have this “party school” reputation and with all the students gone one would assume that this small college town offers nothing else.

This being my third summer in Chico I can tell you that is pure nonsense.

Yes it definitely quiets down and the longer you stay the smaller Chico continues to get but with less parties going on you start to find all the different great things Chico offers. Chico offers a variety of events from the Friday night concert, to art galleries and local music shows. Not to mention all the secret water holes that keep you cool on days where the weather decides to reach 105 degrees, which is half the summer by the way.

As visitors we forget to immerse ourselves in this town we reside in for more than half the year. There is so much being offered, so many connections to make and so much learning to do.

For example this summer I took on an internship at a local non-profit which was probably the best thing I could have done. I learned so much about this town that no other college student could have possibly taught me.

We tend to get stuck in this college student bubble and decide to hold back simply because we want to stay within our comfort zone. Doing so we miss opportunities, loose out on connections we might need down the road and most importantly are not able to grow as adults.

So this semester I dare you to skip that party and instead attend a music show put on by the Naked Lounge, Monstros Pizza or any of the other great venues Chico has to offer.

To your surprise you will find that Chico is not merely a “college party town” but that it has so much more to offer if only we took advantage of it all.

Nicte Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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