Students Speak: Is there a world out there?


Jacy Highbarger ’22 stands in front of her favorite place on campus, the prairie grass by the athletic fields. Photo by Alex Fontana.

Saniya Kelkar

In a world that flipped upside down overnight, Grinnellians struggled with a lot more than classes and time management. Many first (and second) years moved in this year without ever having set foot on the campus or in town. With the start of in-person classes, though, students are once again taking on their favorite places with the same fervor as before the pandemic first struck.

Jacy Highbarger `22

Jacy Highbarger ’22. Photo by Alex Fontana.

Highbarger, who spent the summer working at the College’s prairie reserves, talks about the charm of the almost-forgotten prairies by the Athletic field. “We have a lot of trees and stuff on campus but that’s [the prairies] like, literal prairie restoration. You can actually be in a generally biodiverse area with plants that are as tall as you! And it changes throughout the year, like pretty much every time you go back, you can guarantee that it’s going to look different than before.”

Elizabeth Wong `22

Elizabeth Wong ’22. Photo by Alex Fontana.

Wong loves walking past the train tracks every day. “It just cuts directly through Grinnell, so it’s just a juxtaposition of, like, peaceful, idyllic Grinnell and academically stressed, but then you have the train barreling through campus and it’s like, AAARGH!”

Austin Yu `23

Austin Yu ’23. Photo by Alex Fontana.

Yu is reminded of home at Chuong Garden, the only Asian restaurant in town. “I prefer Chuong Garden because it is the only Asian restaurant in town, and because I’m from Huan Dong, this kind of matches my flavor as a Cantonese.”

Alex Linden-Ross `25

Alex Ross-Linden ’25. Photo by Alex Fontana.

Ross is mesmerized by the Drake Community Library’s collection of “non-academic” books. “It’s just fun to look around a little at the collection, meet new people, bond over different books and stuff like that. Since Burling is just non-fiction, it’s nice to be able to pick up a novel.”

Editor’s note: Burling Library does carry a large fiction collection, but the books lean heavily towards the literary side of fiction; Drake Library is often a better location to find commercial fiction and more recent releases.

David Gales ‘23

David Gales ’23. Photo by Alex Fontana.

Gales recalls playing D&D in Bob’s Underground. “I went with a couple of friends, you know, as a curious first year, still wet behind the ears, being all, ‘This is next to FreeSound. Oh good! What’s in there?’ And the answer was: Graffiti! We were like, ‘Vibes! Alright cool!’”