9 Things You Learn While Living in a College Town for 9 Years

As I mentioned last week, we have just moved back to the county where I was born and raised. We are in the final stages of purchasing a small ranch property, which I am absolutely ecstatic about, but until we close we are living with my father [so I won’t be sharing pictures or saying it’s “our place” because it’s not yet and I don’t want to jinx it]. I’ve had lots of people ask me how I’m feeling, and to those folks I say, “thank you.” Thanks for caring that my nostalgic heart is letting go of “a spot that I love full well” while moving back to another place that has a significant chunk of my heart.

The move has come with mixed emotions so below I share with you 9 Things You Learn While Living in a College Town for 9 Years.

1. Do NOT go to Wal-Mart, Target, Dillon’s, Hyvee etc. the weekend before fall or spring semesters start. There will be a shortage of three-ring binders, frozen pizzas, Sterilite containers, bread, Spaghettios and bean bag chairs. Either go in early August or hold off until early September. You will be forever scarred and bitter if you go grocery shopping in the first two weeks that students are back in town.

2. After you live there post-graduation, you will notice differences between yourself and the students that are enrolled. When this happens, you are immediately known as a “townie.” This is not a derogatory term – it implies that you are a resident year-round and have certain rights. Such as the right to complain about road construction that ONLY HAPPENS DURING SUMMER!

Oh look, another road closed. Now there is only one lone
 street on campus that is navigable.

3. Those professors you had during undergrad will gradually become your mentors and if you are supernaturally blessed, they will become your friends. It’s pretty cool to become friends with people who have far more life experience, wisdom and insight than you do as a twenty-something. In some instances, you may even end up helping them with some aspect of their life, like babysitting or social media insight.

4. You will discover all the cool cultural haunts and restaurants that the college crowd doesn’t frequent that often. In Manhattan, Kansas, it’s the Konza Prairie and the Little Grill, among others.

A view of Aggieville in Manhattan, KS
Slow summer in Manhattan, KS.
@brandibuzzard on Instagram

5. When you go out to the bars with your townie friends, you’ll reminisce about what the bars used to be like. “When I was in school, that was Next Door and when you walked in on a Thursday, you probably knew everyone, including the bartender, who promptly poured you a Lindsay Special.”

Some of my favorite ladies at Rusty’s.
That chica on the right is responsible for the always delicious “Lindsay Special”

6. You will eventually think of this college town as home, rather than “where I go to school.” For example, if you go to some young professionals mixer and have to introduce yourself and say where you’re from, you’ll answer with “Manhattan” rather than your hometown.

7. Your place becomes the home base for new memories because when people come to town for weddings, football games, livestock sales etc., your place is where they want to crash. It’s like a grown-up slumber party, with wine.

8. You inadvertently become part of the community. It may be becoming a member of a church, joining a civic group, playing on a town softball team or helping coordinate a city-wide event, but you will be woven into the community’s activities and have a phenomenal opportunity to meet an even broader group of cool people.

and probably the most true and difficult learning…

9. When you move away, possibly to your hometown, it will be bittersweet. You’ll be ecstatic to be living closer to family however, leaving behind the place that shaped who you are, helped you develop into a young professional and fostered some of the best relationships you’ll ever have will make even the most stone-cold hardass shed a tear.

Adios, Manhattan.

Don’t worry though, you can always plan reunion tailgate parties and cram several awesome memories into two or three days. The best friends remain that way across the miles.

What did you learn while living in your college town?

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~