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Four Years at the Mount

Junior Year

Being Marylandlized

Samantha Strub
MSM Class of 2013

(Nov, 2011) When you live somewhere for awhile you begin to change to accommodate the differences in the traditions for that state or area. Being from Wisconsin I had somewhat of a culture shock when I started college as wide eyed freshmen, everyone around me had an different accent! I couldnít believe it, every person I talked to have a certain way of speaking that sounded either similar to me or totally different. My favorite ones were New Jersey, Long Island New York, and Baltimore; I was memorized by the different ways of speaking. Growing up in a somewhat small town in Wisconsin I had not experienced such a veritiy of different accents in one place. Being an Army Brat I had traveled all over and had experienced different accents but it wasnít all in the same place at the same time.

Moving from the Midwest to the East Coast I learned that I have a strong accent and a strange way of doing things. People I meet made fun of the way I say different words, like "You Know, "and "Oh Crap." Whenever I got really excited or upset about things my accent came out in a whole new way, and when people listened to me go off in one of my either excited or mad rants people usually ended up on the floor laughing at the way I sounded. My friends loved listening to me all the time apparently because my accent was something most East Coast people have never experienced before. I was told many times in the core of the first year that I call things by crazy names and even act in a different way than a lot of people out here. I always had a lot of people confused when I would ask where the "Bubbler" Is. For me that is a common term for a Water Fountain not making the connection that people would be thinking in quite a different way. To this day and to the day I die I will continue to call a water fountain a bubbler. My friends eventually got over the fact that I call a water fountain a bubbler and know what Iím talking about when I say that.

One thing people tried to do was to make generalizations about what they understood Wisconsin to be which normally consisted of cheese, beer, brats and a country-lifestyle in order to understand me. In ways I hit the mark I always craved cheese, I liked brats, and I was a country girl and my first year I had horse at college. I could see why they thought these things about me because in fact I used generalizations to understand the people on the East Coast.

I noticed that the longer I was out here I started doing things that was normal to the East Coast and Maryland. When I came home after my first year, my grandmother told me that I lost my sweetness and became much more blunt and curt towards other people. According to her she claimed that it was because I was becoming one of them. I also began trying and sometimes liking the food traditions out here in Maryland such as the Uts Chips, Old Bay, and Crabs with Old Bay. However, I can still only handle a certain amount of Old Bay at one time and on my honor I will never put it on French fries. I do not like it and I will not eat French fries if there is Old Bay on it. It is interesting to see the differences in food and the tastes going from one part of our country to the other. I would explain what brats are and how there is a proper way to cook them, etc and people thought I was as crazy as I thought they were for putting Old Bay on French fries. When I went home to Wisconsin I realized that the words I said and the way my accent came out when I was excited or mad was true. I noticed my friends and family accents because I was watching for it. However, I was also told by my Maryland friends that my accent is always a lot stronger when I come back from being home.

Now I have been learning the surrounding area around the small community of The Mount. I have been going to visit Gettysburg, Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Poolesville, Bethesda, and Washington DC. It is wonderful to see the battlefields, the Inner Harbor, the football and baseball stadiums, close friends houses and communities where they grew up, along with all the museums and monuments that celebrate our great nation. Itís nice to even go down into Fredrick to fix your random food cravings, grocery shopping and shopping. It gives people a chance to relax in an environment away from school and see things in a different light.

I have realized in my almost three years at The Mount that our campus is a wonderful place where we can meet people that are different then ourselves and we need to celebrate that diversity. It is good to get a different perspective on life, even if itís as simple as the differences in food between the East Coast and the Midwest. We need to do is embrace these differences because that is what gives us our identity.

Read past editions of Samantha Strub's Four Years at the Mount