Photo by Sherry Xue

While many would agree that Lake Michigan is majestic, it's easy to take something you see every day for granted.

To share our love for Lake Michigan, we decided to share Northwestern's top lake connoisseurs' perspectives on how the lake adds a little spice to their life.

Photo by Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

“I hate it when the lake makes me feel relaxed. Why would you go to such a magnificent body of water just to feel a mundane emotion like that?” said Weinberg sophomore Austin Li.

Instead, Li goes to the lake to feel the vastness of the world. He added that especially after long study sessions, he feels the need to realize there is “a whole world out there.”

Li’s hottest take of all is that the lake is the least aesthetically pleasing when it reflects a cloudless blue sky.

“The blue is an ugly color to me. I wish it was lighter and more textured,” Li said.

Photo by Teresa Nowakowski / North by Northwestern

Gabriel Augustynowicz, a Weinberg sophomore, said he only intentionally visits the lake when the weather is stormy.

“I go to the lake when I feel strong inner turmoil and want that reflected on the outside,” Augustynowicz said.

Similar to Li, Augustynowicz never goes to the lake to relax. He doesn’t think the lake, as vast and intimidating as it is, can be relaxing.

Photo by Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Joshua Perry enjoys taking walks to relieve stress and embrace “the healing properties of nature.” He finds stormy waves to be particularly cathartic, but he also enjoys a late night lake walk, sometimes bundling up in the winter to “go to the rocks closest to the water and just try and like vibe out to Melodrama by Lorde.”

Still, Perry finds that not everything about the lake is perfect: “The geese have a monopoly on lakefront space and they shit all over it which kind of sucks. Geese suck.”

Photo by Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Weinberg sophomore Nicole Wallace loves to spend time walking, running and studying near the lake. When she can, she takes her hammock and laptop out to the Lakefill. “It’s a nice, peaceful environment and it’s easier to concentrate than in the library, since the library can get really crowded.” With the grueling quarter system, Wallace considers the lake to be a valuable getaway for Northwestern students.

Wallace enjoys looking into the abyss. “Something about just looking out at the lake and not being able to see where it ends is calming and comforting,” she said.

Like Perry, Wallace also dislikes the geese “The geese leave poop everywhere, so I don’t appreciate them,” Wallace said.

But she also appreciates the opportunity to observe the bit of wildlife on campus. “But they’re cute, and they’re fun to watch swimming around.”

Photo by Isabelle Banin / North by Northwestern

Alyssa Chen, a McCormick junior, appreciates how the sounds of Lake Michigan calm her mind.  

“When I’m here, I’m in more of a meditative state,” Chen said.

Chen especially loves watching the lake at sunset, since “that’s when the colors become the brightest.”

However, she also thinks the lake looks very cool when it’s iced over.

“It looks more mysterious. And it soaks in the sunlight rather than reflects it,” Chen said.

Chen also enjoys how the winter lake makes her feel like she’s in Antarctica.

Photo by Sherry Xue

Sherry Xue, a Communications sophomore, often watches the sunrise over the lake. “It’s exciting seeing the lake turn different colors,” Xue said.

Xue especially enjoys running by the lake to help her clear her mind. She enjoys the soothing sound of the waves and sometimes even unplugs one of her headphones to hear it.

Xue’s most controversial lake opinion is that “the lake isn’t as big as most people think,” pointing to the fact that Indiana is visible from the Evanston shore.

Photo by Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Mari Brady, a Weinberg senior, has found more appreciation for the lake during the pandemic. “It's definitely harder to find excuses to get out of the house so it’s nice to just have a place to go and be outside and spend time in nature.”

Brady also described the Lakefill as “a wonderful place to have socially distanced meetups.”

Photo by Christine Potermin / North by Northwestern

Lauren Hunt, a Weinberg sophomore, prefers a calm, but not completely still, lake. “I don’t like flat water,” she said.

She makes a point to walk by the lake often, usually with other people. Echoing Xue, she mentioned that the sound of the waves makes her feel calm and relaxed.

Hunt thinks that the lake is a “big advertising point” for Northwestern, especially to lure in prospective students. She also said that the lake is the most unique feature of campus.

“It’s definitely part of our identity," Hunt said.

Photo by Sherry Xue.