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A student in a hammock

Try summer the hammock way. ‘It’s a laid-back life.’

Tasmin Edwards, who studies physics and math, listens to a podcast from a hammock on Centennial Common. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

Ah, summer. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the living is easy (just ask George Gershwin and Billie Holiday). There’s no better time to unfold a hammock and relax in the shade in the arboretum on Northeastern’s Boston campus.

Ask those swinging gently on Centennial Common, and indeed summer may be the only time to take advantage of some outdoor time in New England’s fickle clime.

“It’s really like April to October that it’s not too cold to enjoy being outside,” said Tamsin Edwards, a fourth-year student who was taking advantage of this brief window of time to listen to a podcast in her own breezy nest.

Kyle Jurrens, who studies computational and electrical engineering, enjoys a hammock on Centennial Common. Photos by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

Edwards, who studies physics and math, said it was her older brother who gave her the gift of a personal hammock. He gave her the bright red nylon swing after seeing them proliferate his undergraduate campus in Georgia.

“Maybe in Georgia you get more time to use them,” Edwards said with a laugh.

(Could it also be that the fleeting nature of summer in Boston makes it all the sweeter?)

Jeff Roy, a graduate student in the physician assistant program, works from a hammock on Centennial Common. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

Kyle Jurrens, a fifth-year computational and electrical engineering student, has been living the hammock life for years.

“It’s a laid-back life,” he said.

He got his trusty red and black hammock in middle school, for use on the many camping trips he’s taken over the years.

Perhaps the hardest part of this serene existence is finding the best spot to hang, so to speak.

Jurrens and Jeff Roy, a graduate student who was hanging nearby, said that Centennial Common is a prime location—both for the shade and the people-watching.

“You can just relax, bring a book, and watch the world go by,” Jurrens said.

Photos by Matthew Modoono and Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

He, Roy, and Edwards all said that they look for sturdy trees that are far enough apart to hang comfortably.

Edwards swung between a red alder and a river birch near Shillman Hall. Roy had slung his hammock to the river birch on one side, and an Amur maackia on the other.

Tasmin Edwards, who studies physics and math, listens to a podcast from a hammock on Centennial Common. Photos by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

“I’d seen so many people in hammocks around campus that I knew I needed one,” said Roy, who was studying to become a physician’s assistant in Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences. A balmy day near the end of May was his first foray into the hammock way of life.

He was using his gray nylon hammock to study and said that it came in handy during remote learning, too.

“I’m kind of a fidgeter and being able to swing a little bit while I’m in class on Zoom really helps me focus,” he said.

Jurrens, who had a second hammock on hand for a friend on the way, encouraged everyone to get in on the action.

“Honestly more people should use hammocks; it’s a great lifestyle,” he said. After a pause he added, “But maybe not here. They’ll take up all the good spots.”  

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