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Oxford Stories: The Southern Yankee – 20 Vital Tips on Moving from the North to Dixie

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A “Southern Yankee” – oxymoronic right? That’s exactly what it feels like to move from the North to the South. It’s culture shock. It’s a new adventure, and it’s a learning experience.

Molly Randles
Molly Randles

Two short years ago, I was a senior at Bolivar High School. Bolivar is a small town outside of Springfield, Missouri. It is inhabited by around 11,000 people with graduating classes averaging around 300 students.

When deciding on where to go to college, I had the SEC in mind. I love watching football, and what better atmosphere than a die hard, football school. I chose Ole Miss, not just because of its football team, I chose it because of the obvious Southern culture.

When I visited my senior year I fell in love with Southern accents, real Southern hospitality, the idea of the Grove and game days, the gorgeous and well groomed campus, and of course the integrated marketing and communications degree program.

Little did I know, that at this time in the next year, I would face complete culture shock. Here are a few tips I wish I knew as an incoming Southern Yankee.

1. You will get called a Yankee.

The moment a Southerner hears that Yankee accent, they’re going to ask you what part of Yankee world you’re from.

2. Everything is slower in the South.

People walk a little slower, talk a little slower, and drive a lot slower.

3. Don’t be afraid to try grits.

Yes, you’re an oatmeal person. But try Grits.

4. Remember: ‘Y’all’ is singular. ‘All y’all’ is plural. ‘All y’all’s’ is plural possessive.

You will start saying “Y’all” and that’s OK.

5. The winter wardrobe you always brought out in September can wait until November.

IT’S HUMID. You will get hot.

6. If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, classes are sure to be cancelled.

No, you will not have to put chains on your tires to make the trek to school.

7. Southerners take tornadoes seriously.

If you decided to storm watch, be prepared to see people running across campus and looking at you like you have a death wish.

8. Be prepared to eat a lot of carbs.

Casseroles are a real thing. So are “dumplings.”

9. Iced tea is sweet tea.

If you ask for iced tea, they will give you sweet tea. If you ask for unsweet tea, they will give you a funny look, but they will understand.

10. Boys really do like to get mud on their tires.

Boys have big trucks in the South.

11. Front porches are sacred.

If you don’t have a front porch, people will ask you where you “sit and visit.”

12. Fried. Chicken. On. A. Stick.

It is a real thing.

13. Football isn’t a sport; it’s a religion.

Southerners go to the game on Saturday and church on Sunday morning.

14. Chivalry is not dead.

Men open doors for you and pay for you on dates.

15. There is no such thing as lunch.

It’s dinner and then supper.

16. Every girl loves monograms.

Monogram notebooks, towels, hair ties, shirts, and car decals.

17. Respect means you say ‘Ma’am’ and ‘Sir.’

18. “The bigger the hair, the closer to God.”

Southern woman love hairspray.

19. It’s not the question of if you go to church, it’s where you go.

You’re in the Bible Belt now.

20. Momma is always right.

You will hear “Momma always says…” I promise.

Column by Molly Randles as seen on OxfordStories.net.

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