Dear Out of State Students,

Sup! Or as people here like to say.. Hey, how are y’all doing?

So you’ve decided to leave your home state and become a Tar Heel, huh? Whether you’ve crossed an ocean, the whole country, or simply a state border, congratulations! You’ve made it here now, and you’re part of the 18% that aren’t North Carolinian!

While that number may seem smaller than a dook heart (we’re talkin’ very small), it’s more than it seems and more than enough to make you feel at home. If you’re not from the South, one thing you’ll quickly learn about it is its spirit of welcome, manners, and warmth. As you grow a new sense of home here, those features of the South are definitely your friends.

Before the fall, I hadn’t given going out of state any thought, hadn’t even considered the change of Southern culture. After all, I was coming from only two states away! No big deal, right? Well, gonna be honest here, not expecting things to be different resulted in culture shock hitting me like a biology textbook in the face.

With the unique places we come from come unique communities and lifestyles, but there are some things I wish I’d known that I think are applicable to all out-of-staters. Here are some real quick:

  • You’re different and that’s okay! If a genie offered you the chance to be have A) a unique, memorable, fresh perspective or B) a generic one, would you really go for B? Now replace “genie” with “UNC”.
  • You will end up saying “y’all” at some point.
  • People are going to spit the occasional slang that you have zero understanding of, but you’ll catch on in a second. Not to be confused with a hot second or hot minute.
  • Don’t know a single soul at UNC? Join the club. Tons of in-staters feel the same way, dude.
  • Speaking of which, getting involved is a great way to meet your new friends. Maybe the out-of-state student association, because.. obviously.
  • The Southern accent is unavoidable.
  • Finding the best bus/train/plane tickets is an art you will soon perfect.
  • If you’re from the Northeast, don’t be surprised to hear the term “Yankee” still being tossed around without an ounce of joking.
  • Meeting someone from your state becomes a special moment. Mental high-five for state pride.
  • Fully delve into the heaven that is Southern food. You only think you’ve had biscuits before.
  • It’s okay to be lonely.
  • Call your parents! I avoided calling my parents the first two weeks of college thinking they’d only make me more homesick, but they actually knew just what to say and cured my homesickness.
  • After hearing “Greensboro” and “Asheville” a million times, you’ll eventually get an idea of North Carolina geography. And if you don’t, no one really cares anyway.
  • Well, you should know where Durham is so you can point your boo’s in the right direction.

Home is simply a mindset, so set your mind on Chapel Hill! UNC may be your home for only 4 years, but you’re a Tar Heel for life!



Leave a Reply