By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Although Baylor is comprised of a majority of students from Texas, there’s still a nearly forty percent out-of-state population, allowing for a variety of cultures and states to maintain a presence in the school community.
For many of these out-of-state students, Thanksgiving break acts a time to return home and spend time with family and friends. Whether home means going back to the snowy East Coast or sunny California, students’ time at Baylor causes them to reflect on how their home states differ from central Texas.
Stony Brook, N.Y., freshman Hannah Detweiler is returning to her home state of New York for Thanksgiving break and looks forward to the opportunity to spend time with relatives and appreciate the place she calls home.
“It’s been a definite change coming to Baylor from New York, but it’s been a great change,” Detweiler said. “I’m really looking forward to spending time with my friends and family and going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.”
Detweiler appreciates both Texas and New York for their unique cultures, but recognizes that the two are also incredibly different.
“The culture of the South was definitely a big change for me coming from New York, but I feel like I got adjusted very quickly,” Detweiler said. “The things I’ve missed the most about New York are the beach, the city, pizza, bagels and my family of course. What my friends at Baylor call ‘pizza’ really just is not pizza.”
North Potomac, Md., sophomore Alyssa Sweeney will be staying in Houston for Thanksgiving this year, but despite not returning to her home state of Maryland, she anticipates spending time in a place different than where she’s from.
“This is the first time I won’t be home for the holiday, but I’m very excited to explore Houston for the first time,” Sweeney said. “The main difference between Texas and Maryland is the people. I live just twenty minutes outside of D.C., so the majority of the people living in the area are fast-paced and a bit rude. The people at Baylor are very sweet and welcoming.”
Sweeney said adjusting to a new state for college can be difficult at first, but getting involved and making friends can make a big difference.
“At first, I had a hard time adjusting to Baylor and Texas because it was so far from the comforts of home,” Sweeney said. “I didn’t know anyone from Maryland that was going to Baylor, and I found that it was harder to have meaningful conversations with people that were in-state. Thankfully, I got involved in AMSA and Greek life and met so many amazing people that I call good friends today.”
Branson, Mo., sophomore Maggie Lemley has developed an appreciation for both Texas and her home state of Missouri, but will remain in Texas this Thanksgiving break.
“I’m not going back to Missouri for Thanksgiving because my grandmother and family live in Texas and I’ll be celebrating with them,” Lemley said. “That being said, I’m very excited to see my family there since I usually go back to Missouri for breaks. Thanksgiving is special to me because I get to see them and eat my grandmother’s famous sweet potato casserole.”
Lemley has picked up on some Texas/Missouri differences, but overall enjoys her out-of-state Baylor experience despite some drawbacks.
“Although Missouri is far more beautiful than Texas, Texas takes holidays and for the most part everything else more seriously than in Missouri. Everything really is bigger and better in Texas,” Lemley said. “Being out-of-state at Baylor has its pros and cons — on free weekends, my roommates who are in-state often go home and see their parents and sleep in their own beds. That’s something I covet because a nine-hour drive home is not something I can do very often.”
San Clemente, Calif., sophomore Christina Beaulieu is excited to return to the other side of the country for Thanksgiving break and visit her favorite spot in California — the beach.
“The thing that I miss most about California is being able to go to the beach whenever I want,” Beaulieu said. “The first thing that I always do when I come back home, no matter what time it is, is stop by the San Clemente pier and put my feet in the sand and water. I miss the feeling of being at the beach and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. It instantly de-stresses me from school whenever I go home.”
Beaulieu appreciates how much people from Texas value relationships and how Baylor students have invested time to get to know her personally.
“The main difference I’ve noticed is the general culture of how people interact with each other,” Beaulieu said. “In California, if you run into someone and say ‘let’s go get coffee’, it pretty much just means ‘so nice running into you.’ However, if someone says that in Texas, it actually means that it’s going to happen. I feel like people in Texas are so genuine and intentional in their relationships with people which I really enjoy.”
Despite difference among the two states, Beaulieu enjoys being an out-of-state student, believing that experiencing a new culture has led to a unique college experience.
“I’ve honestly had such an amazing experience being an out-of-state student so far,” Beaulieu said. “I love to travel to know places and explore different things and meet different people. Since Baylor is so polar opposite than my hometown, I really got to learn how people with various cultures and backgrounds live differently than in California.”