BUSINESS

Column: My life as an out-of-state student

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Photo by Julia Wickes.

Julia Wickes
Oxford Stories
jgwickes@go.olemiss.edu

Moving away from home is a big deal for almost anyone. Whether it’s moving three hours away, or in my case, three states away. Being an out-of-state student has defined my college experience, and I’ve made memories that could last a lifetime.

When I decided to attend Ole Miss, everyone thought I was crazy.

I’m from Dallas, Texas, which means everyone assumes you’re going to attend the University of Texas or Texas A & M. But for me, that wasn’t the case. I never wanted to be an in-state student. Despite my whole family attending the University of Texas, I knew it wasn’t the school for me.

When I chose Ole Miss, I literally became the Rebel of the family by going against generations of family who attended Texas schools.

Friends and family didn’t think I could do it. No one thought I would be able to live so far away from home. I was a homebody, but that changed when I came to Oxford.

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Car is fully packed as I move to Oxford. Photo by Avery Wickes.

On move-in day, my dad and sister moved me in, then left shortly afterward. When my roommate was out and about in Oxford with her family, I began to panic. I started to believe people’s doubts. I was alone in my dorm room and didn’t know what to do.

I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know my way around Oxford, and I didn’t know if I would be able to live so far from home. Little did I know, that only a few days later, all my doubts would be gone.

As classes started, I became more adventurous. I made friends. I learned my way around campus and Oxford, and I began to love my new home.

Oxford is nothing like Dallas. It was a culture shock coming to such a small town.

In Oxford, people are nicer and everything is slower. You can’t go through a door without the person before you holding it open for you. You’re greeted with a “Hotty Toddy” almost everywhere you go, making you feel welcome. People will let you into their lane while driving with no issue. You can drive almost anywhere in Oxford under five miles from where you started. The kindness and hospitality of Oxford made me feel at home.

At times, I miss the hustle and bustle of my big city hometown. But after living in Oxford for almost a year, Dallas is no longer my home, but rather my hometown.

There are a great deal of difficulties of being an out-of-state student. When moving to Oxford, I had to somehow cram my whole life into my car. Truth be told, I could not see out my back window while driving here.

I also know that moving out will be near impossible considering all the T-shirts I bought from JCG Apparel while in Oxford.

Most of the people I met were from the same state as me. It took me a whole semester to meet someone who is actually from Mississippi.

People will say you have an accent. Some may even be able to trace this accent back to your hometown. Yes, I have been told I have a Dallas accent numerous times.

I had no idea how to dress for the weather. In the fall, I wore a winter coat and leggings for my 9 a.m. class, then changed into shorts and a T-shirt before my afternoon class.

But it is also rewarding being an out-of-state student.

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Crossing the Mississippi River just before Memphis. Photo by Julia Wickes.

You get to travel. When I drive home, I go through four states. There are so many opportunities to stop and take in the world. You get to see the sites without even trying. One of my favorite bits of scenery from my drive to and from Dallas is the bridge in Memphis as you cross the Mississippi River.

You meet people who live across the country. Some of my best friends live anywhere from Michigan to Georgia to Arkansas and almost anywhere in between. It’s fun to think about traveling across the country to see all my friends when it is summer break.

You get to live in a new environment and take in new living styles. It’s interesting to see how differently other people live.

Food. Oxford has so much good food. I’ve never had anything I didn’t like while eating in Oxford. Being an out-of-state student opens you up to a new set of food. I had never had cheese grits before coming to Oxford, and now it’s one of my favorite foods.

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The Lyceum at Ole Miss. Photo by Julia Wickes.

Oxford welcomes out of state students with open arms. I never thought that anywhere other than Texas would be my home, but after a year in Oxford, I’ve discovered that going away for college is the best thing a person can do.

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