I have a love/hate relationship with the town in which I reside. You see, I live in a college town – the same college I graduated from many moons ago. While in college, I absolutely loved living here. But its different now. Now, I love it and hate. Totally depends on the day.
I haven’t done any research on the matter, but I feel that most towns that house universities are cities first and home to a university second. But not my town. Where I live, the city has grown up around the university. The town lives and breathes our university.
While I love my university and love football pregame tailgating, any inconveniences due to the football game can be frustrating when I’m not partaking in the festivities. This may include more traffic on the roads or longer wait times to get a table at a restaurant.
Driving around town is nice and peaceful during summer and Christmas break as all the students have gone home. During this time, the stores and restaurants are rarely crowded. But come school time, the population changes by 58,000 people. The roads are now packed with cars and everywhere you look there are college kids hanging around.
Probably one of the things I dislike most about living in a college town is that it seems like the population is getting younger and younger. I’m not sure when they started letting twelve year olds go to college, but they have. My town is full of them!
Despite any inconveniences that living in a college town causes me, there are other times that I truly love living here. The university provides many opportunities and resources that I would not have other places.
One such resource is the Infant Cognition Lab. The lab accepts babies from 3 months to 18 months old. I took my older daughter and now I’m taking my younger daughter. We visit the lab once a month and the students run a brief experiment on Lila. The students are researching the development of infants’ knowledge of objects. The students monitor Lila’s eye movement to see how long she looks at particular objects and if she looks back to where an object once was. For each visit, Lila earns $5 as compensation for our time and travel. I’m putting my girls to work early! Both girls get a little certificate afterwards – Lila for participating and Kora basically for playing with toys while Lila participated.
We also had the opportunity this weekend to visit the Veterinary School’s Open House event. The students host a day long event and invite the community to come check out their facility. Along with tours of the facility, they had a petting zoo, a cow milking demonstration, polo demonstrations, and Search and Rescue demonstrations. There were lots of reptiles available for the kids to see as well as some out to touch and hold. One of the coolest things about the Open House was the Teddy Bear Surgery. Several of the Vet School students did surgery on stuffed animals that the kids brought from home. Kora took her giraffe that needed a little more stuffing in the neck. Doctor Sarah cut open the neck, added some stuffing, and then sutured the neck closed. The kids were wearing surgical mask and gloves. It was the cutest thing ever.
Right now I am loving where I live and I am grateful for the opportunities that the university provides us. I’m sure that feeling will change come graduation weekend when the town is flooded with people, but right now, I love my college town!