Out-of-State Shockers: Ainsley Altenbern

Ainsley's Tri Delta sorority family (left to right), top - Jessica Reed, Aubree Holloran; center - Maddy Busby; bottom - Grace Westbrook and Ainsley Altenbern.Photo courtesy of Ainsley Altenbern
Ainsley's Tri Delta sorority family (left to right), top - Jessica Reed, Aubree Holloran; center - Maddy Busby; bottom - Grace Westbrook and Ainsley Altenbern.


When starting my college search, I always knew that I wanted to go out of state. I didn’t know which state, or that I would end up getting drawn to Kansas out of everywhere else, but I wanted to reinvent myself.

The No. 1 question I get whenever I serve on a student panel for the Student Ambassador Society or when talking with people on the Esports team is, “If you’re from Illinois, why did you come to Kansas?” and surprisingly the answer is laughably easy. I went into my education knowing that I was going to be a business major and that I wanted to run my own business and build my own future. Luckily, that major can be found in several different colleges and universities, so I could be more divisive on why I was choosing my colleges. My friends would call me picky, I called it being selective.

I wanted the colleges I was looking at to focus on academics, to really show that their main focus was making sure that students felt connected to the industries they were planning on going into. The college experience is important, and I knew that going into my searches, but I wanted it to be right for me.

For a lot of students, the prospect of going out of state seems daunting. It's your first time being on your own and not having your parents or people you know nearby can be really intimidating. For me, going out of state was a way for me to have a fresh start. I wanted the freedom to express myself in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to back home.

Wichita really stuck out in a way I wasn’t expecting. It’s an artsy, foody town with an incredible college in the middle of it that was warm and welcoming from my first visit to the state. I can have my own space while learning to co-habituate with people for the first time and experience events with like-minded individuals that would make me feel not at home, but a natural part of the community.

Ainsley and her father walking on Wichita State's campus.Photo courtesy of Ainsley Altenbern
Ainsley and her father walk on Wichita State's campus.


I was scared, but I was able to join groups and make connections that I otherwise would have been too anxious to ever attempt. I told myself I would never join a sorority, but found my home at Tri Delta. I’m pursuing my passion in Esports by working with the team as a caster, and I get to speak with prospective students in the Student Ambassador Society. Wichita has really given me the opportunity to fully focus on my major in business while still making connections with the people around me. I could have had similar experiences back home, but I don’t think the passion of my professors or the pure knowledge I’m soaking up from my peers could be matched back in Illinois.

While I might not have any of my friends from back home with me on campus, the plus side is I have so many funny stories to tell my friends when I drive 11 hours back home. I’m really in a different chapter in my life and the connections that Wichita State has provided me and the friendships I’ve been lucky enough to have spurred me further.


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