As an out of state student, being sent home from campus was heartbreaking. Although I love my home state of Massachusetts, there’s something about Wisconsin that’s always held my heart. I’ve decided I’d rather be trekking up Bascom Hill to get to an 8 a.m. lecture, than sitting alone in my room watching my professors over Zoom calls. So as I reminisce on my cherished memories from freshman year, I’ve compiled an ever growing list of my favorite things about the dairy state.
- Lake Mendota
I don’t care if it’s frozen or not, Lake Mendota is my favorite view in Madison. It was one of the main things that drew me to campus in the first place. From sliding across the ice in subzero temperatures in the middle of winter to going kayaking in the summer, Lake Mendota has something for everyone. One of the things I was most looking forward to this spring was afternoons spent with friends on Memorial Terrace. There’s nothing quite like a sunset over the lake while doing your homework or eating a sandwich and fries from Der Rathskeller. It brings a sense of calmness and relaxation to the hustle of Wisconsin’s capital.
- Cheese Curds
Before coming to Wisconsin, I had never had a cheese curd and I’d never even heard of Culver’s. It blew my mind that I had no clue about this fast food chain so adored by Wisconsinites. If you’ve never been to a Culver’s (like me two months ago), I’d describe it as walking into someone’s Grandmother’s house and being offered heaps of food (that you have to pay for, obviously). So after being dragged there by my friends, I finally got to experience what all the hype was about. Let me just say, those cheese curds are a MUST. I don’t want to know how many calories are in them, but they taste like happiness. They’re crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and always hit the spot. Now that I’m back in Massachusetts (home of clam chowder which, in my opinion, is not nearly as good), I’ve been craving cheese curds pretty much everyday. My first stop when I get back to Wisconsin is Culver’s, no doubt.
- Corn Fields
Okay hear me out on this one. Maybe for people who live in the Midwest, driving by a corn field is old news. But the first time I saw one, my jaw dropped. In Massachusetts, when I drive down the road, all I see is trees and the woods. But in Wisconsin, it’s endless rows of corn! Even if you aren’t a corn enthusiast, you have to admit they look really impressive. Don’t get me started about corn mazes in the fall. They’re so fun for people of all ages. Maybe it’s just me, but rows of corn are oddly satisfying to look at. I had no clue there were so many types of corn! I thought you just had “corn”, similar to how you just have peas and broccoli (unless there’s multiple types of peas and broccoli that I’m unaware of). I’m not going to list all the types of corn I’ve discovered since living in Wisconsin, but trust me, there’s more than you’d expect.
With classes coming to an end, I feel even farther from my home away from home. But come fall, I’m going to be ready to let out my inner Midwesterner. Although there’s nothing that could ever make me a Packers fan, if there’s cheese curds involved, I’ll come watch the game.