1. Accepting the fact that you aren't in Long Island anymore.
Scarier than when Dorothy realized she wasn't in Kansas anymore. Leaving the secluded little bubble of Long Island and moving south, especially when you aren't with any fellow Islanders, can be scary.
2. There probably aren't any beaches close to you... and if there is, they're absolutely nothing compared to the beaches at home.
Robert Moses, Fire Island, and Dune Road. Although not even Caribbean beaches can compare to those we have at home, anything is better than no beach. Much of the South is landlocked, and you're lucky if you're close to a lake. Finding a new thinking spot was such a struggle for me, especially after growing up on the beach and using it as my personal recluse.
3. The weather.
One second it's 60 degrees and rainy, and two minutes later it's sunny, 70, and humid as hell. The island has one climate all year round, and that climate is: beautiful. The south has ten climates in one day. It's an adjustment, having to pack a summer outfit and a winter outfit just to go to class. You walk in during a storm; but when you leave, it's like you were transported to Florida in July.
4. Getting used to the word "Y'all" and all of its uses.
"Y'all want some of this?" "Are y'all coming?" "Hey Y'all..."
5. Weird food customs.
Mustard on burgers at drive-throughs. Chipped beef. Grits. I needed someone to explain what everything was and why they do it the way they do, And let me tell you... boyyyyy are there some weird customs down here. Every Long Islander here unanimously agrees with me when I say the Mac-and-cheese here is so much better, so at least the south has that going for them.
6. Not being able to find good pizza. Or bagels. Or bread.
Your body goes into shock the first few weeks. Not only because it's being exposed to a new environment and all the other students germs, but because it has not been receiving its normal, high-quality pizza and bagel intake. It's tragic, really.
7. The hero/sub/hoagie debate.
The first time I ordered a chicken parm hero here, the waiter looked at me and asked what that was. I thought he was joking. He was not. I looked at my friend for help and that's when it hit me...they have "subs" here. Before college, I thought a sub was a fill-in teacher at school, not a sandwich. Nothing beats chicken cutlet heros at a family party.
8. Understanding a fast-talking Southerner.
And I thought New Yorkers were hard to understand....
9. Understanding the slang.
EVERY single slang word I used at home means something completely different here. For example, on Long Island, a "bop" is a song that everyone knows the words to and sings along with. Here in the south, it means a far distance, which totally kills the vibe.
10. Trying to determine whether it's the right time to say, "Bless your heart."
Everyone has a different take on this. Some use it felicitously, and some use it genuinely.
11. Not knowing where to go for sandwiches and deli things, since there isn't a deli on every corner here like at home.
You'd be lying to yourself if you say you've never been to Katz Deli, or at least know someone that has. The food on Long Island is hands down the most beautiful thing about the island...except for the beaches. There's a deli every few steps you take, and you can ensure that the food will always be good, regardless of what deli you go to. Where do Southerners get their BECs or 99-cent Arnold Palmers?
12. Assimilating into a new and exciting culture.
Whether it be the slang or the strong religious backgrounds for many, living in the South is really an eye-opening experience. Unlike on the Island, the mentality is super lax and everyone is just here for a good time.