NU Declassified: Spring is in session

Skye Li, Reporter

For many Wildcats, spring quarter is the best quarter on campus — the flowers start to bloom, the weather is finally warm, and you can spend your days on the Lakefill. Last year, the school year was cut short when students were sent home due to COVID-19 before Spring Quarter started. The Daily spoke to students experiencing their first spring on Northwestern’s campus.

ALEX CHEN: We got that, like really really warm spot, I want to say two weeks ago or something like that. I think I just went out, took a bunch of naps on the lake, went to the beach. It was great, like, damn, why can’t it be like the entire year, you know?

SKYE LI: Dartys every day of the week. Sporting events and theater productions every weekend. Dillo Day. For many Northwestern students, Spring Quarter is the best quarter. When the temperature rises above 50 degrees, and a clear blue sky replaces the gloomy grey of winter, it suddenly feels as though the student body has doubled in numbers. Although COVID-19 has squandered some of Northwestern’s favorite spring traditions, many students are enjoying their first spring on the Evanston campus. From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Skye Li. This is NU Declassified, a podcast about how Wildcats thrive and survive on Northwestern’s campus. Weinberg junior Alex Chen transferred to Northwestern in the fall of 2019, in part because of the student experience in the spring.  

ALEX CHEN: When I got the transfer letter, a big part of the decision was the fact that when I visited for a weekend, just really quickly, it was really nice, bright and sunny, like 80 degrees outside, everybody was chilling on the lakefill. So I was like this, this is the life.

SKYE LI: However, Alex, along with other students living on campus, were sent home last March, preventing them from experiencing Evanston’s most highly anticipated season. Now that Alex is back on campus, he’s making up for lost time. For the past few weeks, he’s been practicing for an event called the Full Moon Jam at the beach near Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.

ALEX CHEN: I didn’t even know this coming to NU, but apparently there’s going to be a fire spinning festival every full moon at that beach. And that is actually one of my favorite hobbies, because I like fire spinning. I just didn’t know I’d be able to do that.

SKYE LI: But Alex isn’t the only NU student looking for new activities to do this spring. McCormick sophomore Grace Liu is excited about all of the possibilities to spend time with her friends outdoors now that the weather is a bit warmer. 

GRACE LIU: Even if others were on campus last quarter, I still had friends who were not super comfortable with even just eating together inside of the dining halls, for example. So now because the weather is nicer we can still get food together but then eat somewhere outdoors where it’s a little bit safer in terms of COVID.

SKYE LI: She’s also enjoyed the warm weather by taking long walks with friends she hadn’t seen in a while. It was a fun, COVID-safe way to soak up the sun and socialize.

GRACE LIU: One thing that some of my friends were able to do is we walked to the Baháʼí Temple a few weeks ago, which was like a 20 to 30 minute walk and the weather was super nice though. We were, like, sweating by the end.

SKYE LI: But Grace’s plans don’t begin and end on campus. Looking ahead, Grace has lined up big plans with her friends.

GRACE LIU: In general I also want to travel to Chicago a lot more because I definitely did not take advantage of our proximity to Chicago last year. All of us are taking a trip to Argyle later today which I’m super excited about and I’ve never been there, so it’s going to be an exciting first time. And then also (Westfield Old Orchard Center). I’ve never been there, but it’s also been a hot second since I’ve just done shopping, and with Spring Quarter coming and then the nicer weather, I feel like I need to spice up my wardrobe a little bit since I just sit in my room and wear sweatpants and stuff.

SKYE LI: But Grace is not the only one who feels like she has missed out on the city experience. Even though Weinberg sophomore Mia Thompson is born and raised in Chicago, she has still felt a disconnect from the city during the pandemic.

MIA THOMPSON: I feel like a lot changed in the city since the pandemic started and, like, even though I literally live in Chicago, I haven’t been to downtown or Chinatown or any of the places that I usually go in the past. So I really want to go back to downtown Chicago and be able to experience it again, and check out the restaurants and stuff that’s changed. I guess, kind of just catch up with the city.

SKYE LI: This is Mia’s first quarter back on campus since last winter. Her biggest surprise? How many people were out and about.

MIA THOMPSON: One of the first things I noticed when I came back to campus at the beginning of Spring Quarter was that there was a lot of people walking around and I spent that day walking around, because it has been like a really long time since I’ve been able to do that.

SKYE LI: Mia isn’t alone in coming back to campus this quarter. Weinberg sophomore CJ Tuan just came back to Evanston this month after spending an entire year at home in Taiwan. 

CJ TUAN: In Taiwan, the time difference was a lot to handle, to say the least. I mean I got used to it but I never had a normal schedule. And I also just felt like I was a high schooler back at home, eating my parents’ meals and having them pay for everything.

SKYE LI: Now that CJ is back on campus, she’s not only experiencing her first Northwestern spring; she’s also reacclimating herself to the weather on the other side of the globe. 

CJ TUAN: The weather is just like super different. Like in Taiwan it’s probably like raining every single day right now. And it’s just really humid. So honestly I prefer spring here because it’s the right temperature, not too hot, not too cold.

SKYE LI: For many students, CJ included, coming back to campus after so long can be bittersweet. Yes, the weather is better than it’s been all year, the trees are in full bloom, and hammocks can be seen all over the Lakefill. But it’s also a reminder of all the time we’ve lost. This hit CJ when she visited downtown Chicago for the first time in over a year.

CJ TUAN: I was walking, and then it was like the same area that I went to two years ago when I first got here during fall, but I just felt so different. We were walking in the same streets and all that and seeing the same buildings and we went to Starbucks, which I’ve been to last Winter Quarter. And I don’t know, I just felt so different, like nostalgic.

SKYE LI: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Skye Li. Thanks for listening to another episode of NU Declassified. This episode was reported and produced by myself. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Madison Smith, the digital managing editor is Haley Fuller, and the editor in chief is Sneha Dey.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @SkyeLi87858984


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