Surviving small-town summer

The convulsion of a jackhammer working on Crusader Stadium beat through the silence of the Quad. Squirrels raced along vacant lawns. And President Randy O’Rear skidded along empty sidewalks in his golf cart, taking left turns with the skill of a veteran Nascar driver.
“Campus is a ghost town during summer,” junior nursing major Joseph Salley said.
Salley was one of a handful of students who kept UMHB company over the break. He took six hours of courses at the university and another six at Temple College.
But even though campus looked bare, Sally said, “There is actually a decent amount of people here during the summer.”
Enough people for a volleyball game at least.
Junior history major Matt Boden said that he and his friends played “massive amounts of volleyball.”
To get a group together required more effort than a regular semester.
Junior economics major Ryan Sewell said, “The people that stay in Belton over summer are here for two reasons—to work and take classes. It is hard to hang out with a group of people since we all have different schedules.”
Sewell worked at the Weigh Station over the summer, a college hot spot for frozen yogurt during the regular year. He spent the minimester studying abroad in Peru with the College of Business.
“I qualified for free summer housing,” he said. “I decided to stay and find a job for the rest of the summer.”
The summer incentive program allows residents to live in summer housing rent free if they take and complete a minimum of six course hours. There are three summer sessions: May minimester,
Summer I and Summer II. Boden worked as the resident assistant for Independence Village and was one of four RAs.
Boden said, “In June, I knocked out my classes.”

July and August gave him time to focus on his music. When he started the summer, Boden had four incomplete songs that he was working on.
“I ended up finishing a lot and writing two new (songs) while I was here … and I started recording,” he said.

Belton is a town that is smaller than the shadow of a large Texas city, yet it has its own rhythm. Salley, a native Houstonian, has begun to appreciate the city in his two years at UMHB.
He said, “You really see the spirit of Belton.”
Sally spent his free time fishing and enjoying his church community.
“You really do find interesting things to do,” he said.
He attends Disciple Church, and his life group played a big part in helping him to have what he called a successful summer.
“It’s hard spiritually if you’re not being in community,”  he said.
Every week, the group got together for communion night. They would spend time having a Bible study and a meal. They also gathered for game nights.
Salley and his roommate decided to volunteer at Helping Hands.
“We worked in the food pantry … and it became a regular thing,” he said.

When Sewell wasn’t at work, he spent his time watching “a bunch of Netflix TV series,” he said. “I also went golfing a couple of times.”
Salley, Sewell and Boden all agree that only friendships and community make a summer at UMHB enjoyable.

“The key to being successful during the summer is finding people to do life with,” Salley said.

You must have “a couple of good friends,” Sewell said.

Boden agreed. “It’s all about the people you spend it with.”

Author: Tyler Agnew

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