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Things That Surprised Me About FSU as an Out-of-State Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

The first thing that people always ask me when I tell them where I’m from is “Why FSU?” My quick response each time is “Because it’s a lot warmer than Minnesota.” I came to FSU thinking it would be an awful lot like Minnesota, just warmer. What I wasn’t prepared for was a total culture shock. The Minnesotan and Floridian cultures, despite coming from the same country, are quite different. Here are some things that surprised me as a native Midwesterner living in Tallahassee.

Bright Futures

The first thing that took me by surprise was Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships, not only because of what they are, but the fact that so many people take them for granted. I don’t know many people who go here who pay for school. Most of my friends get paid to go here, which is unheard of in Minnesota. I would’ve had to pay the same amount to attend the University of Minnesota (UMN) that I do to attend FSU. If you attend FSU on a Bright Futures scholarship, I’m jealous. Don’t take that money for granted!

Dialect Differences

Suckers don’t exist in Florida, only lollipops do. Where I come from, a lollipop is a big spirally, rainbow-colored candy on a stick. I was taken aback when I found out that Floridians call even Dum-Dums lollipops. The longer I’ve lived here, the more words I’ve found no one here says. Floridians say “sneakers” instead of “tennis shoes” and “soda” instead of “pop.” I’ve had to develop a new vocabulary. I’d say I’ve mostly assimilated, but I’ll never say lollipop when I mean sucker.

Puffer Coats, hats, and gloves… at 50 degrees

Everyone here is what we Minnesotans would call a freeze baby. Now I’m not saying I don’t get chilly when the weather dips below 70 degrees, but you won’t see me in a coat. I would never put on a hat or gloves unless I was going to be in freezing weather for more than 30 minutes. Around the FSU campus, I see puffer coats sometimes at 60 degrees. I’m used to suffering through how cold I am because that’s what Midwesterners do.

So. Many. Restaurants.

Minnesota is a little bit of a niche state. Unfortunately, not many chains make it up there. Florida in comparison has a much larger population, and that’s far more lucrative to these restaurant chains. I remember my friends being shocked that I’d never heard of Miller’s Ale House, but we just don’t have it. I’ve enjoyed trying new restaurants! It’s been one of my favorite parts of being in Tallahassee.

Natural resources

This isn’t limited to Tallahassee in general, but all of Florida. I’m so jealous that a bunch of you in-state folks were able to just drive to the beach whenever you wanted to go. Minnesota has plenty of lake beaches but they’re not the same. You’ve also got 12 versus maybe three months out of the year to enjoy the outdoors. In the Midwest, it’s way too cold to enjoy our lakes for the majority of the year.

These are just a few of the “culture shocks” I’ve experienced as a Minnesotan in Florida. There has been a lot of adjusting since I’ve got here, but one thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised by is how welcoming everyone has been. I wouldn’t change my decision to make the move down here for anything. Even though I’ve had to adjust a bit, it’s been more than worth it!

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I'm from Minnesota, and am a Sophomore Editing Writing and Media major at FSU.