by Abigail Wisniewski
To those of you basking in the corn, taking in the Husker pride for the first time, wondering what on earth a runza is—welcome to Nebraska! Congratulations and welcome to a community of people from all over the country (and world) who have been in your shoes before, wondering what life in Nebraska was going to be like.
I moved here from the great state of Wisconsin, and of course, I’ve noticed a lot of differences between my home and here. Like any state, Nebraska has all sorts of quirks and things that give it its Nebraska character. Here are a few observations and tips from an outsider that I’ve accumulated about life in the Cornhusker State:
If you’re into rocking the windblown look, you’re in the right state. I was unprepared, but thoroughly amused by the ferocity of the wind in Nebraska. Want to do your hair? Go for it! Just be prepared with a ponytail holder or a hat for those days when the wind ruins your plans.
– It’s okay if you don’t know what a runza is.
Fun fact: Runza is not just the name of a fast food chain, a runza is an actual food. And they’re good! The best way I can describe it is like a hot pocket but with beef and vegetables in it (and better than a hot pocket), but I’d encourage you to try one for yourself. Runza (for obvious reasons) is a great place to try one. If you’re lucky—or if you ask nicely—you might even get to try a homemade one from a host family or generous native Nebraskan.
– Winter is coming…
Haven’t seen snow? You will. Not used to temperatures below freezing? Bundle up, friends. But don’t worry! Along with the cold temperatures and ice come all the fun parts too, like beautiful snowy scenery, building snowmen, snowball fights and the traditional Naked Man Run on the first snowfall.
– …but it’s not that bad.
To those of you who have grown up braving temperatures below zero, heavy snowfall and people getting their tongues stuck to metal poles at some point in their childhood: it’s not that bad. From my observations, it never stays cold for too long, which makes it far less brutal. Even better (unless you’re a fan of the super cold), mixed in among the snow and cold are these wonderful mild days, sometimes even reaching into the 70’s. Nebraska winters (at least the two that I’ve experienced) are a lovely conglomerate of all the joys of winter as well as milder days thrown in that make it less brutal.
– People love the Huskers.
I am not a Husker fan, however I am always completely amused and impressed by the passion of the Cornhuskers’ fan base. As the closest thing Nebraska has to a professional football team, people go hard for the Huskers. Don’t believe me? Memorial Stadium has sold out for 300 consecutive games, and becomes the third largest city in Nebraska on game days. Drive into Lincoln on a game day, I dare you. (Actually though, do it. It’s kind of fun.) The whole downtown area turns into a giant tailgate party, and there are people in red everywhere you look. Regardless of what team you are for, be aware that you are living in the heart of Husker territory (and proceed with caution).
It’s so windy. So windy.
– Lakes and trees.
Shoutout to my friends from up north—lakes here are called cornfields. Coming from Wisconsin, where you’re never more than a few miles from a lake, one of the most befuddling differences between the states was the scarcity of lakes and forests. Don’t get me wrong—they do exist, and they are beautiful. There just aren’t as many of them by comparison. And while cornfields may not sound exciting, they create a great backdrop for…
Sunsets are quite possibly my favorite thing about Nebraska. Obviously, the sun sets no matter where you’re from, but there’s something about the wide open spaces of Nebraska. The sky gets painted a fiery hot pink and orange, a lot of times with purple clouds adding to the watercolor effect. Find yourself a good viewing spot like up on a hill, or even just on the bleachers. You won’t be disappointed.
– You have an accent.
I don’t care where you’re from. You probably have an accent. And the pure-tongued Nebraskans will probably call you on it. Just own it.
– People are really friendly.
Aside from the occasional accent jab, people are generally very friendly. You’re going to find that people like to wave, say hello, give the courteous head-nod to acknowledge that they see you and hope you’re having a great day. Enjoy it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to people. In my experience, native Nebraskans are more than happy to show you all the reasons that they love living the good life.
Are you an out-of-state student with something to add to the list? Comment below!