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Guest Column: From Georgia to West Virginia

An Out-of-State Perspective
Seth BosoSeth Boso

When Katie [Wilson] first approached me about writing a blog segment for the student blog, I reluctantly obliged. After all, I consider myself no expert in any discipline or leisure and I can’t help but feel that my observational skills are too underdeveloped to ascribe any credibility to whatever arbitrary topic I chose to address. Katie was thoughtful enough to suggest I write something from the perspective of a “southerner.” While I make no apologies for having spent the majority of life in the Southeast and will gladly engage in conversation on the topic, such an approach seemed too narrow. Katie suggested, then, that I broaden the scope to that of an “out-of-stater,” in general—an obvious and excellent solution that hadn’t passed through my mind as I scrambled to think of alternative ideas. Accordingly, through this guest-blog (and, potentially future guest-entries), I will attempt to offer an out-of-state perspective on many of the traditions, quirks, and various differences (little and great, alike) that I have encountered and continue to encounter during my time in West, By God, Virginia.

First, though, I’d like to offer a few things to keep in mind as you read: 1) the opinions and observations expressed here are mine, and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those any other “out-of-staters;” 2) I’m always open to feedback—be it explanations or questions or musings on an aspect of the West Virginian culture—from “out-of-staters” and “homers” alike. With that out of the way, I’d like to this blog off with start with a general set of thoughts. 
Moving to any new location is always daunting. Between apartment hunting and becoming familiar with the area, the entire experience is exhausting. That exhaustion can increase exponentially when you move to a new region. The common, initial response, I’ve found, to being thrust in to a new place is to cling to the memories of the place from which you came. I think it’s reasonable and acceptable to be proud of your original town or city and to share it with the people you meet. But, it’s always important to remember that you’re on “their turf” now, and, just as you would not go to a neighbor’s house and point out every difference and critique every unfamiliar nuance, it’s equally obnoxious and rude to do the same in your new town—after all, it is your new home, as well. Believe me, it’s a hard habit to break, and I, personally, try to catch myself as often as I can when I do it. It’s unbecoming and no way to get to know your new peers and colleagues. I remind myself that Morgantown is my new home, and a home in which there is plenty of which to be proud. I remind myself that she isn’t going to force all she has to offer on me immediately. It’s my duty, as a new resident, to explore and discover the town and the region, with the help of my new peers and colleagues.

I urge anyone struggling to adjust and embrace any new home to keep these things in mind. Thanks for reading, y’all.

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