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10 Things You Should Know If You’re From Chicago Attending the University of Alabama

10 Things You Should Know If You’re From Chicago Attending the University of Alabama

Moving twelve hours away from home, I had no idea what to expect. Southern culture is amazing, but quite different from what I am used to. Living in Crystal Lake, Illinois, a Northwest Suburb of Chicago, I have spent my whole life in the Midwest. Attending the University of Alabama is the best thing that has ever happened to me, but there are a few important things that anyone from Chicago needs to know before attending the University of Alabama.

1. The differences in food…(RIP Deep Dish Pizza)…

Let’s face it; no one knows how to make a deep dish pizza outside of Chicago. When moving to Alabama, I never imagined the pure torture and constant cravings I would have to face. If Chicagoans know anything, we most definitely know where to find a food pizza or a Chicago style hot dog. If you’re looking for a good pan pizza in Alabama, the closest thing you’ll find is a $9.99 large Domino’s pizza. If you’re anything like myself, you will constantly face the struggle of craving a Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza or a Portillo’s hot dog and chopped salad everyday (I do not wish this upon my worst enemy).

2. Although we don’t have deep dish, we have Fried Friday’s.

“And on the third day, God created…” Speaking of food, you only need to know two words here at UA other than “roll tide!” and those two words are: Fried Friday’s…the day of the week that every sorority and fraternity member looks forward to. Your arteries will hate you after it, but your stomach and heart will love you for it.   The phrase “Fried Friday” brings joy to anyone’s ears (especially after that Thursday night swap). They don’t call it Fried Friday’s for nothing. Fried macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, fried pickles, fried cheese, fried oreos, fried green tomatoes- you name it, we have it. It is true that Fried Friday’s can cure any hangover, no matter how bad it is.


3. Goodbye small high school T-shirts, hello XL T-shirts!

Say goodbye to those extra small IHSA State Cheerleading Competition shirts! When unpacking my closet, I realized all of my small tee shirts I had brought to school would never be worn again. When you come to UA, all you will wear is large, over sized tee shirts that go down to your knees. Within the first couple months of school, your closet will be consumed with tee shirts. Don’t know what to wear to class? Throw on a tee shirt. Don’t know what to wear to the bar on a Tuesday night? Throw on a tee shirt (#T-ShirtTuesday) Throwing on a large “Alabama vs. LSU” tee shirt and Nike shorts may be the most comfortable, best style to surface the campus!

4. You will learn to say “Y’all”

“Are y’all going to class?” “Do y’all want to go to this party?” I find myself using y’all in every sentence. Being from Chicago, I’m used to saying “you guys.” After a few weeks down South, it is almost abnormal to me now. Y’all will become your new favorite word in your vocabulary, and you will start using it almost too much.

5. Yes, we do have an accent from Chicago. Accept it!

People will point out your accent that you never even realized you had. Embrace it. My best friends point out and laugh at certain words that sound weird to them each and everyday. “Chicaaahhhgo!” “Caaahhhhllege!” Need I say more?


6. You better start to enjoy drinking sweet tea!

Let’s not forget the sweet tea. If you want unsweetened tea, make it very clear to your waitress. Drinking sweet tea in the south is equivalent to drinking water. I’m pretty sure that everyone in the South is baptized in Chick-Fil-A’s sweet tea and Holy Water.

7. You become obsessed with football. #SweetSixteen

Let’s face it, it is a fact that the Crimson Tide is the best football team in the nation. How cool is it that we won another National Championship my freshman year? Game day in T-Town is like no other. The quad is covered with intense tailgates, crimson and white apparel, cowboy boots, shakers, and die-hard fans. The atmosphere is like no other, and stepping into Bryant Denny Stadium for the first time is life changing (#UpperBowl).  Coming to Alabama, I knew that I had to be more invested in football, and it is not hard to be when you go to UA.

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8. Understanding the difference between Birkenstocks vs. Chacos is important.

“What’s a Chaco? Is that a type of food?” When coming to UA, I had no idea what chacos were. My whole life, I have been wearing birkenstocks. I think that every single person in my hometown owns at least one pair. When stepping foot on campus, I was immersed into Chaco-land. Personally, I will always be a Birkenstock type of girl. If you like Chacos, you will fit right in at UA.

9. You adjust to the perfect weather quicker than you may think.

When living in Chicago, -25 degrees with windchill during a blizzard is normal for us to go to school in. We have been taught to drive on black ice. It’s a fact that if you can handle a Chicago Winter, you can handle anything. When I moved into my dorm in August, I felt like I had just gotten out of a swimming pool. It was 105 degrees with 90% humidity. As for winter, if one sprinkle of snow hits the ground, school is cancelled and everyone acts like we are in a snow apocalypse. All in all, the weather here is nearly perfect and you won’t have to wear twenty layers and snow pants to leave your house.

10. “Where Are You From?” is something you will get asked frequently.

I have met so many students here that are from Barrington, Rockford, Naperville, etc. When someone asks “where are you from?” Everyone says “Chicago” rather than their actual town. It’s just easier to say “I’m from Chicago,” and it’s always a good conversation starter! Even though I live 40 miles north of the city itself, I love to tell people that I am from the Chicagoland area. Living near the most amazing and beautiful city in the world is truly a blessing, and I can promise you that you will miss it while you are away at school. Chicago is truly the best city in the world, and while you’re here at UA, you will be willing to get into a heated debate just to prove why it’s so much better than any other city. And win.

What other tips do you have for any of our readers who are from a different location and attending the University of Alabama? Comment below and share this article with a friend!
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