“Why Winthrop?” is the most common question an out-of-state student such as myself has received since my acceptance to Winthrop University. Coming from Virginia, many ask the question and are surprised I walked away from schools such as University of Richmond, Georgetown, and the University of Virginia. Those are all perfectly reasonable options, but Winthrop truly screamed home to the Southern belle that I would say is present in me (some would agree due to my slight obsession with Luke Bryan, mason jars, and an appetite for Arnold Palmers).

One answer to this commonly asked question is quite simple: I feel comfortable here, which is important for a place you are going to be calling home for the next four years. Ever since I was young I always enjoyed hearing my father say “We’re going to South Carolina for vacation.” South Carolina, for me, has always been a second home. Although the eight-hour drive was not ideal, it would be worth it to finally see the “Welcome to South Carolina” sign, my eyes popping open with excitement. Being able to sink my toes in the Myrtle Beach sand and being around the “country side,” was always an exciting time for me in the summer. When the time came to grow up and start thinking about where I would want to go to further my means of education, South Carolina was a reoccurring theme. It is a familiar place for me, in some ways more familiar than my own home. South Carolina has that sweet Southern hospitality when you think of the good ol’ South. I knew that it was a state I could come and find to love even more than I already did.

Specifically, Winthrop seems to be the holy grail of Southern hospitality. During my first visit in July of 2015, walking around campus spoke to the Southern belle in me. The magnolia trees and the perfectly structured white benches to swing on across Scholar’s Walk. My eyes had immediately been replaced with heart eyes as I could picture myself sitting there with a mason jar full of sweet tea, attempting to tackle some assignment. Even down to the people, the southern hospitality shines through and through. From my amazing Orientation Leader Bri Rae, who taught her “Beach Ballers” everything to about killer Freshman year, to professors who speak with such warming southern accents, it was an inviting place for me to be.

Other out-of-state students seem to agree that the welcoming atmosphere of Winthrop, make it a place to want to call home.

“I didn’t pick it due to the fact that it was out-of-state. It was my favorite place so I was willing to make the sacrifice,” my roommateTess Norman said. She, also being an out-of-state student, sees Winthrop as an inviting place to be. As far as it being out-of-state, it is not the only attribute for her choosing this university; it was the great sense of community that she finds to be most appealing, especially during her college decision-making process.

My other roommate, Melody Bryden from Connecticut, also feels the same about the question “Why Winthrop?”

“I knew that I wanted to go out-of-state, and relatively far away, to experience somewhere new and learn to be more independent,” she said. “I knew from my first tour that this is where I wanted to go because it had a very inviting atmosphere. Winthrop was definitely the right choice because I have never felt so at home as I do here.”

Although, we may be giving you the cliché lines to such a commonly asked question it is proven that Winthrop University has a sense of community that made us love it more than any other school in our home state. I am sure that myself, as well as other out-of-state students, will hear this question asked time and time again, and the answer will only get better. From an out-of-state student, thank you, Winthrop for making South Carolina truly feel like home.