Being from New Jersey, the decision to go to Wisconsin for college was unusual. When asked about my decision, the first question I was always hit with was “Why would you go there? It’s SO cold!” Yes, I know it’s cold, but to be honest, I think people that don’t come to UW-Madison are missing out. What’s there not to love? After living on the East Coast for most of my life, I was ready to come to Madison and experience a different way of life. It is definitely different from what I’m used to, but that’s what I love the most about it.
As I drove the 14 hours here with my parents, I was beyond excited. I was eager just to experience college life, especially in an area as different from New Jersey as Wisconsin is. One thing that surprised me (in a good way!) was just how nice people are in Wisconsin. I was confused as to why people were just randomly asking me how my day was. You don’t get that in New Jersey, so it was super refreshing to be around much kinder people; it makes me want to be a better person!
Although I have not experienced the winters here yet, so far I am enjoying the weather. I know I may regret saying that later when I have to bundle up in my big winter coat, but I will stand by that for now. The early fall weather is beautiful; I love how it’s already sweatshirt and sweater weather. However, I have noticed the weather in the Midwest is even more unpredictable than New Jersey weather. It will be 50 degrees and raining one day, and the next day 75 degrees and sunny. Sometimes, this even happens within the same day. The weather changes so fast; it’s kind of fascinating to me. I am already learning to dress in layers to account for its unpredictable nature.
I know I am going to sound like a classic New Jerseyan here, but I miss NJ bagels and pizza. I miss my taylor ham egg and cheeses on an everything bagel to kick start my mornings. Yes, we say taylor ham, not pork roll. But, Ian’s Pizza is definitely similar to NJ/NY pizza, so I am mostly satisfied in that respect. I have yet to find a suitable bagel sandwich place, but I am not sure if I will try to find one because I know it probably won’t be the same. But, Wisconsin has so many other great foods to enjoy that I don’t have back home, such as brats and cheese curds which I love!
Being in the Midwest has definitely made me more aware of how East Coast-like I am. I do everything fast-paced, and here most people don’t. It has made me think about why I’m in a rush all the time. I often find myself speed walking everywhere I go, which is just unnecessary. People here in the Midwest are much more laid back, and it has made me try to slow down a bit. Why rush through life without enjoying the journey?
Overall, I am loving UW-Madison so far. The campus is beautiful and I love meeting people from all over the country. Being from so far away has definitely forced me to immerse myself in campus life and put myself out there more. Although quite the transition, I have loved adjusting to the Midwestern way of life. I definitely think (and hope!) the Midwest kindness has rubbed off on me. I love it here and look forward to the next four years in Wisconsin here at UW-Madison!