Students, alumni share fall memories, seasonal outlooks

The leaves changing color outside Anderson Hall. (Archive photo by Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

With autumn underway, the change of seasons brings joy, sadness and all emotions in between among the Kansas State community. This time of year holds emotional significance for many as it buffers the space between the scorching summer and the frigid winter.

Growing up — and while at K-State — fall used to be the favorite season for Lauren Lauffer, K-State graduate with a bachelor’s in human development and family sciences and a minor in conflict analysis and trauma studies. Lauffer said she still enjoys aspects of the season but now enjoys the spring and summer months more.

“I really like fall, but there are a lot of things that I’ve noticed over the years that make me not like it as much,” Lauffer said. “It used to be my favorite, but it’s not anymore.”

Having moved on from college, many of the fall activities that Lauffer used to look forward to as a student — school, football games, fall-themed events in the residence halls — don’t play much of a role in her life anymore.

“I feel like [fall] just comes with a lot of stress,” Lauffer said. “I like the cool fall days, but it makes me anxious because I know that it’s leading up to winter, and I really hate winter. And I really don’t like when the sun starts to set earlier. … So, I just see all of the things changing as a sign of winter coming.”

Haley Rader, senior in music education, said she also isn’t a fan of winter. She said her favorite time of year is late summer into early fall when neither heat nor cold hinders outdoor activities. One such activity is participating in the K-State marching band as an assistant clarinet section leader.

“By this point in the year, we’ve gotten into … more of a rhythm,” Rader said. “Everybody’s kind of on the same page about how to go about things. So we can have more fun because it’s more smooth, and also the weather is not extreme one way or the other. It’s just more fun at that point.”

While technical challenges are going smoother for the band, relationships have also evolved. Rader appreciates the close-knit community forming among musicians within individual sections and the band as a whole.

“By this point, everybody in the band … we’re pretty comfortable with each other,” Rader said. “So a lot more of the inside jokes start happening and the weird random band stuff that doesn’t make sense to other people, and that’s when a lot of closeness happens, is this time of year.”

Before college, Rader spent much of her childhood participating in activities like dance and band, while her brother was heavily involved in football. Dance performances, band concerts and football games would fill the fall schedule to the brim in her family home growing up.

For Rader, there was some give and take during this time. While she loved the activities she was involved in, she held no particular liking for football or other sports. Still, she remembers attending her brother’s games to show support for him.

“Even though football was never my thing and I usually did not want to go to my brother’s football games,” Rader said. “I look back at that, and now [fall] reminds me of my family. Even though I am not a sports person, I can appreciate it for what it is and for the time with my family.”