Oberlin Blogs

Summer on the Cuyahoga

September 10, 2023

Kate Magnacca ’26

This summer I have gotten very acquainted with the pot-hole riddled roads of Cleveland, Ohio. My tires have truly never been in worse shape. Contrarily, my resume has never been in better shape. Allow me to explain.

Last semester, I learned about an internship program the campus digest had been advertising-- Summer on the Cuyahoga (SOTC). I ended up finding a bunch of internships I was interested in, and applying to them. One of them worked out, and I landed a paid internship in Cleveland and the free housing that came along with it. So a mere three weeks after I moved home from Oberlin, I packed right back up to move into yet another dorm room for the summer.

The housing accommodations for the program were apartment-style suites (which felt more apartment than dorm-like). The rooms were spacious, high-ceilinged, and air-conditioned. We even got our own kitchens and bathrooms. There was no dining plan option or anything like that, and all the interns in the building were essentially working 9-5s. In this way, I kind of viewed the summer as a soft-launch trial run for being an adult (minus many responsibilities such as having to pay for rent or utilities, etc.). For this reason, it was definitely a learning experience. I feel more prepared for post-grad life having done it. 

On the subject of independence, most of the interns in my year were drawn to the program because it offered an opportunity to further exercise the new-found autonomy you get when you go to college freshman year. Instead of going back to your childhood bedroom, you get another dorm in a new city. For me, this was both a pro and a con. I definitely missed home, and felt like I wanted more time with my parents (especially after being away all year for the first time ever). But the opportunity was too good to pass up, and getting to explore Cleveland was a really great experience-- my favorite place to visit was the Larchmere neighborhood, specifically Loganberry Books and Fine Point Yarns.

A large component of the program was the event schedule for all the interns. We had a required number of events to meet during our nine-week stay, ten of which we could choose from the many options, five of which were all-cohort requirements. My favorite event was orientation, because it took place at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens (only a five minute walk from the dorms) and we got to explore the gardens for free afterward. Another highlight was the Kid’s Book Bank we volunteered at, where we packaged books and reminisced over our favorite childhood stories. We also went to the Juneteenth celebration and frequented Wade Oval Wednesdays. 

Between these events and living in the same building, we interns spent a lot of time together. Perhaps the most fulfilling and valuable aspect of the program for me was the connections I made with students from other colleges. I met some really incredible people there and got especially lucky with my suitemates.

Overall, the summer was a huge learning experience. The program gave us a lot of opportunities to make connections and experience the vibrancy of Cleveland’s many communities. 

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