What To Expect When You're Expecting Texas
What To Expect When You’re Expecting Texas
I walked into Baylor University, confident in myself and in my belongings. I had what it took, to be a good student, a good sorority candidate, and a good “Texan.” New Mexico is only a state away, after all. I had nice clothes, a decent vocabulary, and a pair of Sperry’s for the notoriously preppy Baylor campus. I was ready for the real world. Yet as I looked around, I noticed girls with hiking sandals and purses made entirely of floral patterns. Boys were wearing crisp polos and khakis, with their fraternity’s baseball caps on backwards. Ninfa’s was these people’s idea of superb Mexican food and Dr. Pepper was more common than water. The word “you all” did not seem to exist in these strange people’s vocabulary, and if I heard one more “sic ‘em,” I might scream. What had I gotten myself into? The answer was Texas. While it is a beautiful place to dwell, any outsider needs to properly prep him or herself before entering. Get ready for a cultural, social, and educational difference, New Mexicans. Don’t forget, no one should mess with Texas.
Expect Sweat, Republicans, and Yee-haws
At first, I can nearly guarantee you will dislike Texas. Why? The humidity. While New Mexico might be one hundred and ten degrees, the direct heat will feel much better than Texas’ ninety-five degree weather with twenty-five percent humidity. However, you should never tell a Texan how much you hate their weather. They love Texas, through and through, and don’t even realize how wonderful a slight breeze can feel. New Mexicans could care less about their state, whereas true Texans bleed cowboy boots and tumbleweeds. So, you can forget looking cute, girls, because your makeup will be gone by the time you reach your first class.
When you do get to that class, prepare yourself for some true Texan culture. I speculate that “y’all” will be acceptable in most of your papers, and that topics over branding cattle will be frequent. Not only is it a big agriculture state, but it’s also a rather conservative state, which differs greatly from New Mexico. I personally can recall seeing my baffled father being hit on by a homosexual man, as well as seeing protestors booing McCain and Palin as they visited my small hometown. Even though I grew up in a Republican household, the passion most Texans exhort for their beliefs has surprised me, as I’m sure it will you. Discussions might break out in class over why “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” shouldn’t have been repealed or why gun rights should always be allowed. Cowboy boots might be stomped in anger and some class members might storm off in their roaring Dodge trucks as soon as class is over, but not before holding the door for the ladies in class. You’ll quickly find your first reason to love Texas-the friendliness and hospitality, especially of the classic southern gentlemen. Doors will be held, “please,” “thank you,” and “ma’am” will be heard, and sure enough, Baylor ladies will get their promised ring by spring.
Expect Unattractive Floral Patterns
There are three Baylor trends that will, at first, disgust you, but slowly win you over to. One is Vera Bradley. Think of a diaper bag’s pattern and cover everything with it, like lanyards, backpacks, purses, duffle bags, or laptop covers. Any true, respectable New Mexican girl should hate it, but it is necessary to own at least one piece. I recommend the coin purse, since it’s the smallest and therefore the least obnoxious. Second, Texans love Chacos. Chacos are sandals, which to the naked, New Mexican eye should be worn only for hiking, yet boys and girls alike wear them with everything. Some will even have Chaco tan lines on their feet. This is one trend than no New Mexican should cave in to, as long as you want to still be claimed by your family and friends. The third and final big trend is for girls to wear oversized t-shirts with Nike shorts, or “Norts,” as your common sorority girl would call them. While you might consider this to be only appropriate for the gym or for begging on the street corner, Texan girls love this trend. Buy your expensive Vineyard Vine shirts in a XL, and make sure it’s longer than your Norts. If you combine these three, you are sure to pass off as a native.
Expect the Big Leagues
New Mexico is great, for its enchanting sunsets and authentic green chile, but when it comes to education, you might find yourself a little behind. According to Education Week, New Mexico is ranked 50th in the nation for making students with a chance for success; 47th for K-12 achievement; and 32nd overall for education. It’s second to last in giving opportunities to succeed, and gets an F for its K-12 achievement ranking. New Mexico’s universities are also subpar, with University of New Mexico ranked one hundred and eighty-one by US News World Report and New Mexico State University not even ranked. While Texas isn’t necessarily at the top of the pack, it’s still much more educationally advanced. My hometown didn’t stress dual credit or the importance of AP tests; yet the majority of students here got to skip intro level courses. As the familiar slogan goes, everything is bigger in Texas, and that also means scholastic significance.
Along with great schools comes great school pride. The only word more frequently used than “y’all” might be “football.” For a Baylor student, it might also be “Sic ‘Em” or “RG3.” A Texas A&M student might use “SEC,” while a University of Texas kid might use “Hook ‘Em Horns.” Whether you attend UT, A&M, TCU, TTU, or Baylor, you can expect a game-day craze. Texas is all about their football, but it’s not just something to do on a Saturday night; it is their Saturday night. Some students even go as far as picking their school based on a winning team. Now, don’t fret, we New Mexicans don’t have to suddenly convert to die-hard football fans, but you do have to pretend to understand the basics, comprehend the significance of A&M leaving the Big 12, and yell, scream, and sic ‘em after every play. If you get lost along the way, just nod, smile, and boo the other team.
To a common bystander, I am now a Texan. I have a worse southern drawl than many natives. I abhor A&M, own cowboy boots, and think Dr. Pepper and Blue Bell ice cream is a heavenly combination. I’m a Baylor girl, a Texas girl, and yes, even a Vera Bradley girl, yet I haven’t shed my origins. I am still me, just with a slightly altered voice. When you go to college, the world is at your fingertips. You have access to anything and the ability to be anyone you want. It’s a fresh canvas, on which you can re-paint yourself. Whoever you decide to be, whatever you decide to do, remember where you came from. Never forget the taste of true Mexican food, and stay true to yourself and to the Land of Enchantment. Don’t forget New Mexico, but it’s perfectly acceptable to turn up the cheesy country song, slip on your boots, and let out a little yee-haw. After all, this is Texas, y’all.