By Jamey Temple
Media Relations, Cumberland College
You take a break from your reading assignment in economics to adjust your
blanket. You always loved the feel of grass between your toes.
The only sounds are the breeze, the chirping birds, and other students saying,
"Hi!" as they walk by. You are overwhelmed by the antebellum architecture and
take a deep breath. No city. No traffic. Peaceful.
Welcome to rural campus life.
When you are not basking in the sun or studying, you could be checking out the
hiking trails nearby, perhaps kayaking, skiing, or horseback riding. You could
be taking part in the many outdoor adventures awaiting you in nature's
At most rural colleges, the school tends to be the center of academic and
social life. This helps breed a close-knit community, encouraging a more
personalized learning experience and greater interaction with the faculty.
Professors typically know you by name (which may make it a little harder to
hide out in the back of the classroom). It's not uncommon to find group
activities at a professor's home. Students benefit by receiving the full
attention of their professors, who are typically willing to help with class
work or projects.
What rural campus life does not mean is a lack of activities. Many campuses
have reputable athletics programs, which offer sports for men and women, and
campus activities’ boards keep students busy throughout the week and weekend.
Since rural campuses do not have the luxury of having a city nearby, they work
much harder to bring the entertainment to you! Many campuses hold free events
featuring entertainment such as comedians, magicians, hypnotists, and some even
offer concerts at a reduced cost for students.
Dorm life tends to be an even more critical part of rural campus life. Rural
campuses are more residential, meaning that more students tend to live on
campus than off of campus. This helps create a much stronger sense of
community. You’ll go to the local 24-hour diner to study for finals; you’ll go
on a weekend road trip at the last minute; you’ll stay up late listening and
singing to bad '80s music – you’ll do this and much more. You'll create
memories to fill a thousand picture albums. Tip: Don’t forget the digital
One aspect of campus life you probably haven't thought about, but your parents
have is campus security. Parents often worry about their son or daughter
running around loose on a college campus and out from under their protective
eye. One question weighing heavily on their minds is, "How safe is the campus?"
When the "parentals" step foot onto a rural college campus, they may feel warped
into an episode of the Andy Griffith Show. They'll even stop, sigh, and grin.
(If you don't know what show we're referring to, don't worry, it's to your
benefit). One of the advantages of being on a rural campus is this feeling
of security. Of course, all campuses have their own security, but a rural
campus has a feeling an urban campus can't replicate. A rural campus feels
safe because it's serene, it's set apart, and it's a place where people come to
know each other personally. Setting foot onto a rural campus gives one an
impression that it is a protected environment, because it feels miles away
from the hustle and bustle of an urban location. Your parents may be the
ones who worry about security the most, but you'll be the one who comes to
appreciate a secure feeling in the end.
On larger campuses, you may walk the same route everyday and not see a familiar
face. Not on a rural campus. You'll get to know people, and they'll get to know
you. Your web of life will extend from your peers to your teachers to the staff
of the college. This personal approach and familiarity is one not typically
found in a larger, urban setting. If you are looking for the anonymity of a
400-seat classroom, look elsewhere. But, if you are looking for a place where
your professors care about you, and a place you can call home, then adjust your
shades, kick back on your blanket, and enjoy the serenity of rural campus life.
About the School
Founded in 1889, and with more than 1,700 students,
is one of the largest private colleges in Kentucky concentrating on the undergraduate
experience. Cumberland students come from 38 states and 14 foreign countries. With
a 16:1 student-faculty ratio, a personal approach to learning, and a caring faculty
who put their academic credentials to use for the student's benefit, a Cumberland
education is one equated with value and high standards.