College campuses have their own rhythm, and they usually happen on schedule without fail.
There’s the summer slowdown, when the campus pulse is fueled by students catching up on some needed credits. There’s the brief emptiness of winter break, when most students head home for a few weeks. There’s the wind-down of spring that culminates in packing up and moving out, whether for the summer or for good. There are seasons of goodbyes and seasons of hellos.
And then there’s August. Suddenly, there it is: The traffic jam on Hillsborough Street. Parents lugging bins of clothing, supplies and keepsakes from home. Freshmen charting out their walks between classes. Long lines at Fountain Dining Hall. “Leasing Now!” flags hung out in front of apartment buildings.
Lately, our rhythm has been a bit out of whack. But in August, we saw it return as NC State welcomed back more than 37,000 students to campus. Yes, it was different. In class and in the library, students wore masks and everyone had to either upload vaccination cards or get tested every week. Packapalooza was canceled, but the Midnight Howl and Run went on — this time starting at the newly refurbished Belltower that now chimes in the hours with real bells.
We wanted to capture the first full back-to-school week in almost a year. And who better to take the photographs than students themselves? So we reached out to NC State’s Student Media office and assembled a team of seven students and recent grads, all of whom honed their photo skills at the Technician, the Agromeck or the Nubian Message. For a week in August, they fanned out across campus to get an inside look at back to school 2021, when NC State found its rhythm again.
Meet The Photo Team
Get to know the photographers and their photos below by clicking on each one to zoom in.