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Advice for College Students Moving to the Deep South

Potlucks, sweet tea and country music are just a sliver of the unique culture the South has to offer. Along with a colorful history and famous Southern hospitality, the region presents distinctive college experiences.

College life is a huge milestone. Apart from the fact that you get to experience a new sense of freedom, you will also be learning a lot of important life skills. Moving away for college is the perfect opportunity to widen your horizons. Throwing yourself into a new environment will help you grow, mature and develop new interests.

Are you thinking of going to college in the South? Here are some practical pointers to help you prepare.

Importance of a Realistic Budget

A budget is probably the first thing on your mind. And rightfully so. It’s true that the cost of living is relatively lower in the South. However, setting a realistic budget for every month shows the value of saving money. You’ll learn an essential skill with budgeting. Soon, you will begin to distinguish between the things you want and the things you need.

Lack of a budget will have you spending recklessly, especially considering the difference in the costs of items and services up North and down South.

Spectrum of Weather

Prepare yourself to experience a wide range of weather. In the South, winters can be unpredictable. The temperature can drop below freezing point with absolutely no snow. The most you can expect is the occasional sleet and some frosty weather. Most of the time though, temperatures stay between the 40–50-degree Fahrenheit range.

On the other hand, summers are long and humid. Temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit and even go as high as 100 degrees. If your living quarters do not come with an AC unit, consider buying one. You’re going to need it.

Spring and autumn are short but make up the most pleasant months in the South.

Lack of Public Transportation

Public transportation isn’t as prevalent in the South as it is in other parts of the country. Some Southern states have regional and local bus systems. However, the extent of public transit isn’t full coverage. You’ll find yourself renting cars and vans for farther destinations if you don’t own a car.

Though most metropolitan areas with colleges and universities are significantly easier to access, not every city is the same. Plan accordingly and consider investing in a car (or at least a bicycle) to get around, especially if you live off-campus.

Cooking is a Vital Life Skill

Generally, knowing how to cook is a valuable skill at any stage of your life. As a college student in the South, you might find it even more advantageous. It’s easy to fall into the expensive habit of ordering takeout all the time, but it’s never too late to start learning to work with some basic ingredients. Chances are the native Southerners you meet will know how to cook or at least make a gumbo.

Make sure you can whip up a few easy meals. H-E-B supermarket will be your best friend. In most areas, potlucks are a frequent occasion. Mastering a casserole or two will not only keep you well-fed and healthy, but also give you the benefit of widening your social circle.

Embrace Your Freedom

Finally, embrace your newfound freedom. This is a rare opportunity to experiment and learn new things. Don’t shy away from new experiences. Don’t know how to spend your time? Try joining unusual clubs.

While you enjoy the typical American college life, you may lose track of coursework. Work-play balance is the most important thing to keep in mind. If you’re behind on your thesis, turn to an essay writing service and keep that GPA up.

Participate in sporting events, attend parties and build strong friendships, discover new talents and interests—and keep your eye on your goal all at once.

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  • Timothy Ashworth / May 2, 2024

    As a prospective college student considering the South, I found this article incredibly insightful and practical. It beautifully captures the essence of Southern culture and provides valuable advice for someone like me who’s planning to embark on this journey. The emphasis on budgeting is crucial, and I appreciate the reminder to differentiate between wants and needs, especially with the regional cost variations. The weather spectrum description is particularly helpful, as it prepares me for the climate fluctuations I might encounter throughout the year. Overall, this article serves as an excellent guide for prospective students like me, offering practical pointers to prepare for an enriching college experience in the South.