Posted on 08/14/2019 at 09:00 AM by Sarah Buss
I have lived in Ames for over 20 years. The university brought us here and we planted roots and made Ames home. What I’ve learned over 20 years is to start stocking up on patience and products now in anticipation of the invasion of 30,000 plus new friends at the end of August.
Each shopping trip, throw in an extra of all basic house hold items. Have you been thinking about a new lamp or a new pillow case for little Suzy? Buy them now. Because soon our new friends will be filling every nook of our favorite grocery and household stores equipping their new spaces with all the necessities. Need to run a quick errand to pick up toilet paper and chips in the last week of August? Nope, there will be nothing quick about this trip. It will be like playing Tetris on our main roadways, so leave a good 15 minutes earlier than you left in June. The lots will be full, and will sometimes feel like a game of Chicken as you race to beat the car next to you, so break out the Nike’s since you may have to park a bit, ok much further away, than normal - enjoy those extra Fitbit steps.
It’s human bingo, traveling down the store aisles while the new friends pose for the perfect social media picture, so make sure you too are always ‘camera ready’. Telephone, as you hear a new resident telling mom that they are out shopping for food and only the necessities as you walk by and see their cart filled with a new hammock, matching water bottle, blanket and sure there is food in there… the last bag of the chips you were looking for earlier. It’s fine. The chips will be back in stock in September sometime on a non-home football game weekend when the rush has slowed and they begin to budget their summer job / financial aid money better realizing it has to last them 3 more months. Who can blame them really however, hammocking in central campus or at the new Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor sounds pretty wonderful!
As a mom of a second-year college student myself, I see the arrival differently than before, I now feel more of the excitement first hand through my own daughter and kind of want to hug them all. I can’t help but smile warmly when I pass the swarms of students walking into our favorite local stores and coffee shops. They are contributing to our commerce; they are making small, medium and large business owners do a happy dance. They are a big part of the reason that we have some of our cool amenities and of course our beloved Iowa State University. I’ve survived move in day, yes it was only across town, but it still was an adventure as we hung onto her mattress on top of the car and had to make a mad dash to get a trash can and liners that we forgot. We felt the college parent tug as we left her and drove away. If its 700, 70 or 7 miles, there is still an empty feeling when you leave part of your heart to live somewhere new without you.
My final piece of advice for the impending doubling of our hometown as they begin their adventure? Stop and engage with them when you see them, ask if you can help offer directions or a recommendation. Welcome them, enjoy them and point them toward the fruit and vegetable aisle.
Cover Photo: The Ames Tribune
Categories: Enhancing Community