When it comes to choosing where you want to spend the next four years of your life after High School you don't really think about what's going to happen where you choose. At least for me, I didn't. When it came to choosing a University in 2014-15, I just thought of the weather and is it far enough away from home. Which was probably some of the factors for many seniors. But they're so much more that happens that you may not even realize until you make the actual move come August.
Mannerism was definitely one of the biggest. In New Jersey when someone asks you a question or trying to get someone attention. You probably would go and say "Hello," "Yes" or "No" and that would be it. As that what you were used to and saw every day except for a couple of people who probably were a BENNY.
After a month in Tuscaloosa, I started saying "Ma'am" and "Sir" without a second thought. It would just come naturally that if I don't say it now when addressing someone it feels strange. When I brought that mannerism back to New Jersey I surprised a woman over the phone when I always finished answering a question with "Ma'am" and of course the person who hated being call "Sir" because he wasn't old enough in his opinion to be called that.
In New Jersey, we can hit the 100s over the summer and be in the single digits in the winter like last year when we had a code blue and my town got 16 inches of snow in one day. But the weather is way different down in the south than what I thought of when looking for a school. Yes, I`m used to hot weather but it's a different type of hot in Alabama weather wise. So you will find out if you can literally find out if you can take the heat within a month of living here. And you will be the only person in shorts and a long sleeve when it's in the 60s if you go south for a school.
And when it came to choosing a school, I crossed Florida right off my list because of the possibilities of Hurricanes even though New Jersey gets them too. But I didn't think of the fact that Alabama has this thing called Tornado season which is between March and May but Tuscaloosa also has a second one from November to Early December. (This school year alone we were put on tornado watch twice in a week on different days).
Last but not least the way to having a vehicle is way different. In New Jersey you go from rarely ever making a left, seeing a juggle handle at least twice within a five-minute time period or even two of them right across from each other and never having to leave your car when it comes to filling up your tank.
To making a left at every light or making u-turn anywhere on the road that allows it when you have to go on the other side and making sure you know how to work a gas pump. (January 2016 in the middle of nowhere Alabama when a man in a truck had to help me and a friend with a gas pump because we couldn't get it to work, he probably knew we were from Jersey even before he saw my license plate). But in all New Jersey, we are still probably the worst state to drive even with the craziness that is Alabama driving.
Here are my thoughts on what I wish knew before making the move south. Even though none of it would have changed my selection in school but it definitely would have been nice to have known so I wasn't as surprised.