The picture above is Hale Library located in the heart of the Kansas State University campus. It's the way Hale looked during the summer, beautiful but with no life around it. "Life" on a unversity campus means students, thousands of them.
Summer school classes bring around 4,000 for June and early July, but then those students head home for some R & R or to work and spend family time. Our town is quiet, the traffic lessens considerably, and Aggieville restaurants are filled with townfolk rather than students. It's nice, but something is missing.
Then about the third week in August, the students return in droves, thousands of them until all 23,000+ are back in dorms and near-campus rentals. The stores are filled with students buying supplies, from food to furniture to beer. Traffic increases to teeth-gnashing proportions, and dinner in an Aggieville restaurant is put on hold til next summer. The students are everywhere!
And I love it. There is something magical about being surrounded with young people with their enthusiasm and laughter. I like shopping for groceries when they are in the store. They provide many amusing moments as they pace the aisles looking for items easy to cook. I like seeing them on the walkways between campus buildings when classes change as I drive through campus.
One thought I always have is that each and every one of these young people have a story. Some come from western Kansas ranch life, while others are Kansas City kids. Still others are International students from myriad nations around the globe. Athletes recruited by K-State coaches hail from various parts of the country. Sometimes their story includes being homesick. Some have backgrounds that are unheard of in our agricultural state, a family history that would provide enough material for a book. But the stories are there, inside the indivdual students, and if we're lucky, we'll hear some of those stories before next summer.