How to Survive as a Southerner at Exeter

I assume you’ve read the title by now, and if you’re not a southerner you probably won’t catch any of these references. However, please feel free to continue reading for a dose of southern culture and a tale of the great people of Phillips Exeter Academy. If you are a southerner, pull up your overalls, toss on your straw hat, and pack some Jambalaya, because I’m about to tell you all about being a student from below the Mason-Dixon.
When you first get to campus, everyone will have thousands of questions. If you’re from one of the states way down south, like Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana, there will be even more questions. Some will be out of genuine curiosity, and some will be in an attempt to be funny.
Example A:
“Do you eat alligator?”

Alligator

My dad grilled a whole alligator over the summer. (We don’t actually do this but my dad is a chef and he wanted to try it.)

Yep.

Example B:

“Have you ever been to the swamp?”

IMG_0387

Trip down the bayou. (We don’t actually do this either. This was my first time.)

Yep.

Everyone will tell you how much they love your accent but sadly, too much time around northerners will make it fade away. When you go home for break it will come back with vengeance. Don’t try to hide it. It makes you special. Only a select few say “y’all.” Grits aren’t served with every breakfast. (I learned that one from experience.) The food will never taste spicy enough. (Just keep a secret stash of hot sauce and spices in your room.) AVOID ANYTHING LABELED “CAJUN” OR “CREOLE.” It will only disappoint. No one says “I made ___ on a test,” which I found quite strange. Today, I asked someone to make me a glass of milk was told that no one says “make me a glass of ___” either. Weirdos. They are going to butcher the pronunciation of words, but give them time. “Beignets,” “Andouille,” and “Etouffee” don’t roll of the tongue at first. You are going to butcher the pronunciation of words. All of the names of towns and streets were made to trick you. Remember this. Apple cider donuts might seem strange at first but PLEASE TRY THEM. Go apple picking because you can’t do that at home. The winters are going to be cold. Really, really cold. You will make it through just don’t think about the fact that its 80 degrees at your house. Eat the chowder and the lobster and watch a Red Sox game. Red Sox fans are crazy. Patriots fans are crazier. Celtics fans are crazy too. So are the Bruins fans. Catching a trend? All jokes aside, the people up here are great, especially in the Exeter community. They understand you feel like you’re in a foreign land where everyone pronounces their “A’s” strangely, and they’ll do anything they can to make you comfortable. For example, over the winter, my dorm head went above and beyond to plan a Mardi Gras themed party. Everyone in the dorm got to enjoy a little taste of my home.

Mardi Gras

All the girls of my advisor group.

You will find other people like you. It may seem like there is not a single student at the school who knows what you’re talking about, but there are. The people up here have weird accents and they really like sports, but they are amazing. Before you know it, this place will be your home.

See y’all later,

Lauren

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