Dominica Savant-Bunch, Class of ‘22, on Her First semester in the South

It can be challenging for college freshmen to get used to being on their own, it comes with a new plethora of responsibilities along with a million firsts. For some students home is just a short drive away, for others it is across an ocean. Scottie Dominica Savant-Bunch, class of 2022, came to Agnes from San Diego California. I asked her a few questions about what it is like to go to school so far from home and how the cultural differences have affected her college journey.

HerCampus: What did you expect of Georgia when you chose to come to school here?

Dominica Savant-Bunch: Honestly I didn't actually know what to expect, I had never been to the south before. I traveled a lot but mostly out of the country. My dad had a bad experience in the south since it is very homophobic. I didn't expect everyone to be so nice.

HC: What attracted you to apply to Agnes Scott?

DS: It was my number two and then number three school for awhile. My advisor recommended it to my. It was so beautiful and I liked that it was an all girls school. Originally I didn't want to go here because it was so far away. After my mom and I visited my top pick and the campus was unattractive we decided to come visit Agnes Scott. It rains a lot, but it is so lush and green here. My mom calls it baby Hogwarts, if Hogwarts were in the south this is what it would look like. When I got here it just felt right.

HC: What do you consider the most challenging thing about attending a college across the country?

DS: Homesickness for sure. Basically, my mom and I talked about it before I left, I probably wouldn't come home very often. I did not realize how much I would miss it. I have already visited home three times this semester. I get in the airport and me and my mom both cry, when I go to the airport to leave we both cry again. There is a lot of crying. My dads have become weirdly invested in my life. I used to only see them once a week, now they call and text me.

HC: What is your favorite thing about being in Atlanta?

DS: That’s hard, probably the people here. Atlanta is really pretty and really interesting. I love Decatur, its so cute. I love the environment I am in, the people I am around. It is good that I have a support group here and one at home.

HC: How have you been handling the climate here?

DS: Perfect weather is boring. It’s gray and gloomy here and I love it. Winter has been kinda rough. I am not prepared for how cold it is ever. I have one gigantic winter coat, its comical. I'll have on leggings, jeans, a scarf, and my giant coat while my friends from Atlanta will just have like a scarf on. The coldest it gets in California is fifty, here it’s been getting to the thirties. I’m really excited to see snow, I haven’t seen snow before.

HC: Is there a difference being a part of the LGBT community in Atlanta Georgia rather than in San Diego California?

DS: Absolutely, San Diego is a huge gay community. I live five minutes from the “gay” part of town. There are gay clubs and stuff. Here it is way more low key, like oh they are gay too. California is really extra, there are rainbow flags everywhere.

HC: What cultural difference have you found that you didn't expect?

DS: Definitely hearing ma’am and sir. In California everyone's like “what’s up!”. We talk really slow and chill, they say the California accent is a space between every letter and no spaces between words. No one ever says thank you ma’am, it would have offended me then. Here it is the highest honor. When I went back for thanksgiving break I said “thank you ma’am” at a Mexican restaurant and the waitress was so frightened. She confusedly said “you’re welcome?”.

HC: Have you ever felt a “culture shock”?

DS: Absolutely, California is very much lowkey and chill and “go with the flow”, pretty much they way people think of it. Over here it is lowkey, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, it is lowkey because you have to choose to be. You can’t let all of your emotions out. It is a jarring feeling. I feel like I have to watch myself here.

HC: How has the Agnes Scott community made you feel more at home/included?

DS: The vibe that this place gives off is very homey, seeing the red brick and the trees everywhere, the dorky icebreakers we do all the time here. When I go back to California I will refer to here as back home, and it kind of is my home now. It is really the people here who have made me feel the most comfortable.