Editorial: Stay in Ames for the summer


Editorial Board

If you’ve never lived in Ames during the summer, you probably see Ames as a crowded college town where it’s impossible to get to Target in less than 20 minutes or find an open table in Starbucks. 

But, if you have lived in Ames during the summer, you probably see Ames in an entire different light. Here are a few reasons why, in our opinion, Ames is better in the summer.

With fewer students on campus, it’s easy to make connections on campus. For most summer students, a lot of their friends have gone home for the summer so everyone is looking to make a buddy. This may seem like a very desperate attempt to make friends, but the people you meet during the summer will end up being some of your closest friends because they frankly don’t have many other options. Sad and desperate but true. 

Most of the dorms and most greek houses aren’t open during the summer so summer students are forced to grow up a little and live in an apartment. With an apartment comes many new experiences. Buying and cooking your own food, paying for utilities and rent, living with roommates, etc. Living in Ames during the summer gives you a taste of adulthood. 

If you are only staying in Ames for classes, you will have a lot of spare time on your hands. You can use this extra time to explore Ames as a city and not just as a campus. Real life people live here, not just students. Crazy right? Reiman Gardens and Ada Hayden are beautiful in the summer and there are so many cute little restaurants and shops in North Ames and downtown to check out as well. During the school year, we’re all busy with school and jobs and whatever else we’re doing, but in the summer, we need to take advantage of the “break” in “summer break.”

If you are here for classes, the opportunity to meet with professors one-on-one increases. You can take advantage of the career wisdom of those in your field, or meet your professor as a person instead of a dispenser of information. They’ve lived through events we’ll only ever read about, and sometimes they even leave their offices do to things like hobbies, or to see family.

Classes themselves tend to be in an easier format. Classes may be everyday, but only for half of the summer. This creates an easier routine – similar to high school. Class sizes are smaller, so you are more likely to know those around you, and they can become group project partners or study buddies.

You also have more access to campus amenities, from gym equipment to counseling services to the cafés. If it’s included in your tuition and fees, give it a try. What is overcrowded during the regular academic year is wide open in the summer, including seats on CyRide. Explore buildings and find study spots without having to fight for them. 

Plan to include a summer in Ames in your course schedule. Experience and find your Iowa State – without 36,000 other students.

For a taste of what Iowa State’s most crowded spots look like empty, check out the photo gallery from our Visuals team.