Rural vs. City: How these students adjusted to life in Manhattan

Students from rural communities often have different experiences in Manhattan than students from urban communities. (Jordan Koster | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State has 17,210 undergraduate students, 467 veterinary medicine students and 4,042 graduate students, with an overall student population of 21,719. With such a large student body, it contains a vast range of student backgrounds.

Justin Yurosko, junior in marketing, is from Olathe. The Kansas City suburb has a population of 139,605. Yurosko said he likes Manhattan and has had an easy transition so far.

“I took juco classes in high school, so the school part was a fairly easy transition,” Yurosko said. “Manhattan itself is small enough that it’s pretty easy to learn where everything is, but also big enough for me to not feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere, so I’m pretty comfortable here. But there’s also no way I’d be able to stay here long-term.”

While some like the area, students like Yurosko know this won’t be home for long. One large complaint that Yurosko had was in regards to the infrastructure throughout the city.

“To be honest, I absolutely hate that like 75 percent of the town has a speed limit of 30 mph,” Yurosko said. “There’s no logic to the layout or infrastructure of this town, which is basically the exact opposite of Johnson County.”

Yurosko wasn’t the only student who had an issue with infrastructure and transportation in Manhattan. Miriam Chamberlain, senior in mass communications, hails from Chicago, a city of 2.7 million — very different from Manhattan, Kansas.

Chamberlain transferred to K-State and has loved her time at the university. Although she enjoys this town and university, she said she has had to adjust to the different options for transportation.

“I would say my biggest adjustment is transportation,” Chamberlain said. “Everything out here is so spread out, and it’s hard to get around, especially coming from a city where everyone takes the L or takes the bus and there is always an availability of transportation. It’s really hard out here to have that option be declined when I don’t have a car because I really can’t rely on public transportation. That is probably the most difficult thing I’ve dealt with.”

Despite her good times at K-State, Chamberlain doesn’t see Manhattan as a place where she will stay long-term.

“Overall for the experience, I don’t regret it but I can’t get used to it,” Chamberlain said. “I grew up in the city and that’s where I’m known.”

On the flip side, some students consider this city to be booming with many options. Kinzey Cott, junior in agribusiness, is from Clay Center, with population of 3,989 people. For Cott, Manhattan is a place of many opportunities.

“It’s a bit of a change because of the population differences, and there is just so much more to do here,” Cott said. “In my hometown, all we had was you would work, and then you would either go to bed or drive your trucks on dirt roads. That’s it. Here you can actually do things and there are places to go and you don’t have to just drive on dirt roads.”

Cott said she loves her hometown and is proud of it, but she loves Manhattan as well. Coming from a small town, Manhattan has many opportunities for her that she wasn’t given before.

I'm Monica Diaz and I graduated in May 2020 with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish. I severed in several roles while working for the Collegian, but most of my work focused on rebuilding the Collegian digital brand with an increased social media presence. I also worked on KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day in my last semester on campus. In my spare time, I enjoy a good cup of coffee and spending time with family. I have a passion for journalism because I believe that everyone deserves to have their voice heard.