11 Culture Shocks West Coast Students Experience At East Coast Schools

11 Culture Shocks West Coast Students Experience At East Coast Schools

One should not judge by stereotypes.

Besides the weather, the East and West Coast share many obvious differences that offer compelling perspectives. These views broaden one's thinking and allow one to perceive ideas beyond the bubble of a hometown. These enclosed environments can serve to nurture the youth, but they can create dangerous illusions through seemingly solid foundations of ideals. The "flawless beliefs" will be challenged when one exposes oneself to polar settings, especially with the exchange of students across the country.

1. Spring clothing

Boston Globe

The West and East Coasts possess conflicting personalities in terms of weather -- the former can be identified as moderate, while the latter extreme. West Coast students can expect to dress in light clothing, at most a sweater or jacket. They usually can anticipate and prepare for most weather. On the other side of the U.S., students can experience a range of conditions and clothing sold there, adjusting appropriately (with waterproof or durable qualities). A friend could be wearing a t-shirt and shorts for a day, switching to layers of clothing the next.

2. Friendly, favorable, and forgiving


When I encountered other students on three college campuses in the East Coast, all of them offered assistance without hesitation even though helping me would delay their plans. One simply needs to ask. Admittedly, their behavior may have been influenced by the self-fulfilling prophecy. Regardless of impact, one should appreciate this kindness often unseen in any setting.

3. Ethnic makeup


Considering that the Bay Area contains a higher percentage of Asians and other foreigners than most parts of the U.S., the East Coast typically registers with a dominant percentage of natives. For instance, a census taken for Massachusetts features 80.4 percent as the percentage for white people and 5.3 percent Asian people. With a smaller Asian population, fewer restaurants subsequently cater to that particular group.

4. Hustle and bustle


I noticed that students at East Coast schools tend to engage in work even during week-long breaks, possibly due to the inhospitable weather or exams. Nonetheless, I found it shocking because my high school reflected this similar mentality, though I had believed it to be exclusive to my school. Both environments also featured outside cities as places for leisure, allowing for one to relax and enjoy one's experiences.

5. The lack of outdoor pools

Boston Magazine

Students on the West Coast (or in any other pedestrian city) can expect to relax by the pool or swim outdoors without the irritation of hail or snow (thunderstorms occur rarely but prevent further swimming). One can still find indoor pools in this part of the country; however, on the East Coast, one does not have the luxury of exercising outside in unpredictable, extreme weather. Forced to swim inside, athletes do not experience the bone-chilling feeling of entering the sheer cold water and leaving in a shiver. As a warning, colleges need to properly maintain the air quality or face a toxic incident, similar to what occurred in Greensboro.

6. Direct mannerisms


The East Coast tends to be very straightforward with words and actions. On the West Coast, civilians will try to couch their feelings in a subtle fashion. This approach can appear to be elusive and passive-aggressive to East Coast individuals, where they believe it. It would be best to be frank and simple than trying to attempt circumlocution.

7. Emphasis on historical architecture


Admittedly, one can find historical sites across the West Coast and admire such developed anecdotes. However, the East Coast contains easily accessible places that create a sort of academic, patriotic vibe. Synthesized with flourishing restaurants and diverse aspects, one can appreciate the smorgasbord of settings.

8. The popularity of Dunkin' Donuts

Restaurant News

West Coast college towns (or cities) do not promote Dunkin' Donuts as much as East Coast cities do. To liken the success of this franchise, one can allude to Starbucks. West Coast residents poke fun at this latter coffee shop because Starbucks can be found on every corner. Dunkin' Donuts recently established some locations on the West Coast, but this franchise has yet to match the popularity of Starbucks.

9. Uptight stereotypes


When regarding the East Coast (New York or other major cities), West Coast students typically refer to the cold climate or beautiful sightseeing. Rough neighborhoods and high prices (both depending on a specific area) also tend to be mentioned. I noticed that on the East Coast, students will usually discuss (with regard to stereotypes) the temperament of a group on the West Coast or elsewhere. In fact, they tend to follow the out-group homogeneity and bias, perceiving individuals in outside groups as similar and negative. For instance, Harvard students can be regarded as elitist, a characteristic that obviously does not apply to all students within the group. Undoubtedly, these psychological perspectives can be discovered within any group.

10. The prospering expansion of mass transit

Massachusetts Vacation

Students can access shuttles and other means of transport to nearby cities. Unlike the huge sizes of states on the West Coast, the East Coast features smaller states that allow for visits across borders within mere hours. Thus, one does not need to worry about finding ways to explore the sights of the East Coast. Parking, on the other hand, can be a pest with consistent surveillance and high fees in cities like Cambridge, Mass.

11. Liberal arts college knowledge

Huffington Post

West Coast college applicants search for a wide range of universities to ally with. The best known colleges include the UCs, state schools, and the Ivy League (or similarly ranked universities). Liberal arts or private colleges tend to be unknown because the media does little to mention these schools. East Coast students definitely know of the colleges mentioned above, but the geography shifts and other factors allow for exposure to different schools. When I mentioned "Brandeis University," only a few of my peers and teachers had actually heard of this college, due to research or knowledge of the location. In contrast, strangers on the East Coast react with acknowledgement.

As a disclaimer, these statements should be only considered as mere observations. One should not judge by stereotypes and strive to understand historical backgrounds or to experience events firsthand before forming an opinion.

Cover Image Credit: Globe Staff

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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The Polar Bears Invaded, What Do We Care?

After all this is on the other side of the world, it can't possibly impact us.


On February 10th, news started circulating about something pretty unheard of; some near 50 polar bears have made their way into the small Russian town of Novaya Zemlya. These bears have been reported roaming around the streets, and to people like us, this seems rather bizarre, and to some degrees fascinating. Florida is the polar opposite of the type of climate these animals live in, and so the majority of us have never seen a polar bear anywhere except maybe in a zoo. Taking this into consideration, it makes sense why we'd see the whole situation this way. After all, how cool would it be to be able to look out your window and see these guys walking around? How many people could say that they've experienced that? Probably not too many!

When you look into the details of this situation though, it becomes evident that this is actually a major nuisance and concern for the people affected. People have reported being scared to leave their homes, or send their kids to school because of the looming threats of these bears and their aggression, and there have been issues reported with the polar bears wandering into human residences. A state of emergency had to be called because of the safety hazard that they pose, and also because there is no known way to get rid of them. They've lost their fear of humans, and consequently, they no longer responded to things like guns being fired off, or alarms sounding.

This situation is a major issue, and as a conservation enthusiast, I believe it is one that everyone should be concerned with. Yes, even those of us who live over 6,000 miles away from Russia, and have no possible way of being impacted by the event itself.

When these polar bears wandered into this town, they began scavenging for food. If it were only one or two bears it could be said that maybe they just weren't fit enough to adequately hunt, but when these animals are arriving in the masses it's a major testament to the condition of the environment. The habitat that these bears live in is no longer able to sustain them, and considering the species is already endangered, that means that their habitat is in a terrible state. Some will argue that their habitat decline is due to climate change, and those who don't believe in climate change will protest against that.

I say forget whether or not you believe climate change is real or not; the fact that the environment can no longer sustain a shrinking population is problematic enough, without pointing fingers at a cause. The state of the world is changing, and it's not going to stop with impacting just the polar bears.

People tend to underestimate the importance of environmental issues. We don't really care about things until they're knocking at our front door and interfering with how we go about life. People ignored the fact that the ice stretches polar bears need to hunt have been shrinking, and now an entire town is having their livelihood completely disrupted because of it, for some continuous unknown amount of time. I say that people need to care about this because this could've been any community that is near a rural area. This could've happened much closer to home, with any species of animal that is facing environmental pressures. People need to take this event and learn from it. We need to stop turning cheek to environmental issues until they're hurting us. We need to start taking care of problems as they're presented and stop making taking care of the world we live on such a debate. It was polar bears this time, and unless we act it's only a matter of time before it's something else, and maybe it's us and our neighbors staying inside, too scared to go out.

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