It’s the first week of August, which means we are a little more than a week away from move-in weekend at NAU. Does that stress anyone else out, or just me? I know I’m a student, but as someone who works for a company located on Milton, I am stressed just thinking about the move-in tribe that comes with each student.

Maybe you caught my post on the “Flagstaff Buy, Barter, Sell and Services” Facebook page where I asked members of the page to help me with a project. The project is for the “Welcome Back” issue of The Lumberjack. What I needed help with was gathering a list of things people come to love about Flagstaff and a list of what annoys them about our town. I very explicitly left out the word “hate.” The reason I did this was to get more fun light-hearted answers. That is not what I got. People changed the word “annoy” to “hate” instantly.

Can you guess what the most hated thing about Flagstaff is? It’s NAU. People hate the university and the influx in population. I get it. But if I’m being honest, it’s a little upsetting to see how people react to students who are here to learn and expand their knowledge. One person even commented, “Everybody who wasn’t born and raised in flagstaff...go back home.”

But let’s check facts about why students prefer NAU over ASU or UA. First and foremost, NAU has the lowest tuition in Arizona as far as state universities go. Secondly, the other two campuses are located in very hot climates. Yes, there is a chance for snow in Tucson, but Tucson is hot all but maybe two months of the year. Thirdly, this may not still be a fact, but it was when I was looking at the three universities, NAU is the only one to offer a full-ride to students that qualify. That is why I came to NAU.

As someone who is fifth-generation resident of Arizona, I was prepared to go anywhere because I have family everywhere. But as I mentioned a few weeks ago, the forest is my real home away from home. Plus, I could live up here and get an education while all my hard work throughout high school paid the bill.

I realize that with students comes more wait times when going out to eat as well as more traffic on Milton. The traffic on Milton has the power to make anyone’s day go from great to one full of tension.

I believe there’s a different way to look at college students.

If we’re being honest, in the next 20 years, we’re going to be the doctors, politicians and business people. It’s going to be us. I know right now we seem like a bunch of kids who don’t know what we’re doing. I know my generation is one most consumed by social media and electronic devices. But whether we like it or not, one of these days we are going to be the ones who are running this country.

Although those who have lived here for more than 30 years aren’t happy with us, I think that they should feel a sense of pride. Twenty-year-old people are coming here to learn and absorb this beautiful mountain town. So please, show us your town, share with us your stories. I promise we aren’t half bad.

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Bailey Helton is the editor-in-chief at The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University's student newspaper. College Chronicles aims to connect Flag Live! readers to various aspects of campus life.


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