You Know You’re a Southern Girl in Pittsburgh When…

The city of Pittsburgh is full of sports fields, theatres and universities. When I first arrived in the ‘Burgh, I fell in love with the tall buildings that surrounded me and the overall feel of the Steel City. However, as a girl from the Bible Belt, there were a couple of things that were quickly brought to my attention and made me aware that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. 


Snow Days and Negative-Degree Weather Are a Normal Thing

A cold day in Carolina consisted of fifty-degree weather with a slight breeze. The most amount of clothes I had to put on for a day like this was jeans, a monogrammed quarter zip and Sperrys. As soon as I moved to Pittsburgh, I knew that was NOT going to be the case on my first day of fall. I had never before been in negative-degree weather nor did I have any idea what a parka was! Luckily, my friends from the North introduced me to some super warm coats and cute winter wear (yes, fleece leggings are a thing). So, to all my Southern girls thinking about going to school in the North, going to your biology recitation in negative-degree weather in the morning is a thing. AND NO, THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH WILL NEVER CANCEL CLASS FOR SNOW!

You’re Explaining the Difference Between Initials and Monograms

Back home, monograms were 100% a major key. Every Southern girl has about 534,324 of her things monogramed. From her car to her Lilly Pulitzer daily planner, all things are monogramed in Jesus’s name. After moving up to Pittsburgh in the summer (monogram season), I was excited to wear my monogrammed sandals and cute tees. However, there wasn’t a place I would go where I didn’t have to explain why I had random letters on my clothes and backpack. No, it's not a sorority or my initials; it’s a monogram people!


Your Jack Rogers Collection Turns into a Boot Collection

Every Southern girl's favorite footwear is her pair of Jack Rogers. Whatever color or metallic trim they may have, a Southern girl loves wearing her Jack Rogers with her favorite Lilly Pulitzer dress during the spring. However, in Pittsburgh, that is a no-go. Unless you’re here in the summer or the very start of the fall semester, you can only wear those babies for a month...maybe...if you’re lucky. But no promises. I soon realized that my cute Jack Rogers collection would be turning into a boot collection really quick. 

Southern Hospitality Is...Different Up Here

Back home in the South, greetings with smiles were essential along with the phrases “yes, ma’am,” “no, sir,” and the beloved “bless your heart.” I remember walking down Forbes with one of my friends and smiling at the people I passed. I was wondering why people weren’t smiling back at me (and a little saddened by it). In fact, I got more strange looks than smiles back. It’s not that the people up north aren’t kind – actually the Pittsburgh community is full of nice people. However, the way they express it is NOT how we do it in the South. Northern people are about their business and are driven and determined to get where they need to go and do what they need to do. Getting used to that transition was definitely a new challenge. However, this girl will always carry her Southern hospitality with her wherever she is. 

“God, Sweet Tea and the SEC” turns to “Science, Iced Tea and the ACC”

My favorite phrase when I was younger that described where I came from was, “God, sweet tea, and the SEC”. After moving to Pittsburgh, this wasn’t exactly the case. The Bible Belt tradition did not exist here nor did real, genuine sweet tea. (It’s an epidemic up here! They think they’re actually drinking sweet tea! This is a crime!) The most important sports talk is about the ACC rather than the SEC. They even use a term called “yinz” instead of the proper “y’all”! It’s a whole new world up here!

Even though differences exist within northern and southern states, one important realization that Southern girls have when they move to Pittsburgh is how diverse we as Americans are. No longer can we generalize this vast population with one, two or even a couple of words. There is a certain beauty about our differences, and this experience is vital to truly appreciate the dynamic traditions, cultures and ideologies that are present in today’s American society.


Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6