As we conclude our winter break, almost everyone has been anxious and excited to return to the place that we are lucky and proud to call home. We missed our friends, our schedules, and our campus. However, I notice that I as well as other New Jerseyans often boast about our home state. Therefore, in the midst of our first week back at school, I give you the top ten reasons it absolutely rocks to hail from what some refer to as the “Armpit of America.”  

1. Four seasons. New Jerseyans have the privilege of experiencing winter, spring, summer and fall. We enjoy corn-mazes and apple picking in the fall, skiing in the winter at nearby mountains, and hiking in the spring. The summer leads us to our next point…

2. The Jersey Shore. Nothing is quite like it, and no it is not anything like the television show. With long, wide beaches in Cape May and boardwalks in Wildwood and Point Pleasant, there is plenty to do on a humid summer day.

3. The Breakfast of Champions. If you have a friend from New Jersey, no doubt you’ve heard them speak of it. Taylor ham, egg and cheese with SPK (salt, pepper, ketchup). Whether on a Kaiser roll or on an everything bagel (yes our bagels really are better), you’re sure to be satisfied.

4. New York City. Yes, I know it’s in another state, but to be able to hop on a thirty-minute train ride to the Big Apple anytime of day is something special.

5. Farmer’s Markets. New Jersey is called “The Garden State” for a reason. While some of you may not believe me, you haven’t tasted corn or tomatoes until you’ve tried one from Jersey. We actually are home to top growers of cranberries and blueberries as well! 

6. Music. In New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen reins supreme. From a young age, everyone knows nearly every word to all of his songs, and Glory Days, Rosalita and Born to Run are basically state anthems. Music sensations such as Frank Sinatra and Bon Jovi are also natives of the ‘dirty Jerz’. 

7. “Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas!” That’s right ladies and gentlemen, when you enter New Jersey, you never have to pump your own gas. And no, you do not have to tip the gas station attendants. 

8. Sports teams. When living in New Jersey, there are plenty of sports teams to cheer on. We are home to the one and only Jersey Devils (we’re going to pretend this season didn’t happen). The Giants and Jets also play in New Jersey, so we are not sure as to why they are labeled “New York.” 

9. Italians. Someone once told me that if you’re from New Jersey, you are either Italian or you pretend that you are. Here, you get the some of the best pizza and people. Oh, and Sunday Gravy. 

10. State Pride. Other than Texas, I can’t think of a state that has the same amount of pride as New Jersey. When you from Jersey, you let people know it. As Chris Christie says in those scripted commercials, we are #jerseystrong.