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College students say goodbye, with regrets, to Island summer
As the days get shorter and colder, and as the leaves begin to turn brown, college kids across the Island are gearing up to return to school. These last weeks of summer always stir up a mixture of emotions for departing students. While many are excited to return to school, they are also sad that their summer has come to an end.
Todd Hitchings, 19, plans on returning to his job as a lifeguard at Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark next summer. Photos by Rebecca Rattner and Julia Spiro
Some leave the Island for school as early as mid August. Elizabeth Stern, 20, a rising sophomore at Cornell University in New York, left the Vineyard on Aug. 20 in order to begin her classes on Aug. 23. Ms. Stern, a human development major from New York City, spent her summer babysitting and working in the Menemsha Blues store in Menemsha. She rented a house in Oak Bluffs with some of her friends from home. After what she described as a "crazy and fun" summer, it was time to pack up and go in mid August. "I'm the first one of my friends to leave," she said. "It's hard to leave the Island and go back to school when everyone else is still enjoying the summer."
Another student who understands Ms. Stern's reluctance to leave the Island early is Jonathan Mazzarella, 21, a senior at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Mr. Mazzarella, a Lynnfield native, also had to leave the Island on Aug. 20 to go back to school. Mr. Mazzarella spent his summer driving the Old Port Launch in Edgartown. While he has spent every summer here at his family's summer house in Edgartown since he was born, it was his second summer driving the launch. Mr. Mazzarella said that some of his best memories have been made here, but that this might have been his last real summer here. "I'm not sure if I can come back next year and have a summer job," he said. "It will be different once I've graduated."
Russel Hodson, 20, enjoys a relaxing day off from his landscaping job, which he plans on sticking with next year.
Mr. Mazzarella's predicament is not foreign to many other students. Mike Desrosiers, 20, is also unsure about whether or not he will have the same job next summer. Mr. Desrosiers, a rising junior at Rice University in Texas, where he is a civil engineering major, grew up in Vineyard Haven. This was his third summer working as a waiter at the Vineyard Golf Club. "I had a good summer," he said with a smile. Mr. Desrosiers said that while his summers have been lots of fun, next year it might be time for a more serious job. "I might be doing an internship somewhere next year," he said. Mr. Desrosiers heads back to school on Friday.
Some students don't feel as much pressure to build up their resume with internships. Todd Hitchings, 19, who was born and raised in West Tisbury, has been a lifeguard at Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark for four summers. When asked if he planned on returning to the same job next summer, Mr. Hitchings replied, "Of course. I can't complain about this job. I get to be on the beach all day. It's been a grand summer." Despite having had a fantastic summer, he is looking forward to returning to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he will be a sophomore. Mr. Hitchings' return is on the later end of the spectrum, Sept. 2.
Margot Becker, 19, is glad that she doesn't have to go back to school until September.
While most students lament leaving the Island, others look forward to going back to school and can't wait for summer to end. One such student is Mindy Roussell, 20, who will begin her freshman year at Fordham University in New York City. Ms. Roussell, an Islander, said that she has had a "good, but stressful summer." Ms. Roussell said that she worked a lot this summer as an au pair for a family that summers in West Tisbury. "I'm so excited for school to start," she said. "Summer was great, but school is going to be awesome. I can't wait for it to start."