When people ask students where Grinnell College is, many respond, “In the middle of a cornfield.” This is not true—it is actually located at the southern end of the field. All kidding aside, yes, the setting is very rural, but a 10-minute walk is all it takes to reach downtown. Every store can be found on either Broad or Main streets. The "business district" comprises one block, and almost everyone operates on a first-name basis. The slow, calm pace of rural Iowa is not for everyone, but for those that embrace the challenge, college in Iowa can be enlightening.
Living in a "cow town" does have some perks. Unless you plan on traveling on a regular basis, a car is unnecessary because everything is within walking distance, and on warm nights, a casual walk to the Dari Barn can be satisfying. You’re bound to run in to people you know, and senseless crime is nonexistent. Leaving your car unlocked is a luxury. Since a good chunk of Grinnell’s population and income is made up of students, there are a lot of stores that cater specifically to them. There are two downtown coffee shops that include art for sale. While Grinnell isn’t very big, there are always things to do. Students either love the small-town atmosphere or learn to deal with it. Those who are driven completely insane by living in the middle of nowhere usually leave after a year or two. Yet, the casual small-town friendliness is something that can be tough to leave when you do graduate and move to the bustle of either the East or West coasts. Many alumni return and complain about the impersonal atmosphere that plagues their city—you do not have this problem in Grinnell.