Starting college is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking experience, especially for those who are going to a school for away from home. As a girl from Southern California, I chose a school as far away as possible; University of Maryland. Not only is it all the way across the country, but the whole vibe here is completely different. I’ve only been at Maryland for a month, but here are my tips for how to survive UMD as a West Coaster.
1. Rain Gear is an Absolute Necessity.
The weather in Maryland is crazy. It might be sunny and warm one minute, and raining with thunder and lightening the next. Be prepared for anything when you step outside. You need to invest in a good raincoat and an umbrella. I can guarantee you it will rain within the first week.
2. Be Prepared for Everyone to Ask Why You Chose to Come to Maryland.
Every single time someone asks me where I’m from and I tell them Los Angeles, their immediate response is “Wow! So why’d you come here?”. Every. Single. Time. Only 23% of the students at UMD are from out-of-state, and about 2% are from the West Coast, so we’re rare around here. Be prepared to be asked this question over and over again.
3. The Food in Maryland is Nothing Compared to Food on the West Coast.
I feel like this might just apply to dining hall food in general, but the food on campus cannot even begin to compare to the food at home. I’m used to eating sushi, avocado toast, and acai bowls at least twice a week, and now my diet only consists of over-cooked chicken and bland mashed potatoes. My suggestion for you is to find places off campus or nearby that you can go to a few times a month when you need a break from the repetitive dining hall food.
4. Meeting Others From the West Coast Is the Coolest Thing.
Although it’s a rarity, you will run into at least one other person from the West Coast on campus. And when you do it’s the best feeling ever. I met a girl from San Francisco a week into the school year and it was amazing. She could totally relate to everything I was feeling. We both love University of Maryland and the people here already, but it was nice to find someone who understood exactly how I feel about being in a different place so far away from home.
5. You’re Fashion Sense Will Completely Change.
Fashion here is very preppy and sophisticated compared to the West Coast’s casual and grungy look. Once you’re on campus you’ll be seeing less of Obey and PacSun clothing and more of brands like Alice and Olivia and J Crew. My closet is already starting to transform from flip flops and crotchet shorts to boat shoes and J. Crew thanks to the University of Maryland.