I remember when I first came to the University of Miami about two years ago. I was a little white girl from the corn fields of Ohio who would soon realize that Miami was the exact opposite of where I grew up. With over half of UM’s student population being from out of state, I’m sure my experience was not unique.
-In Miami, yellow lights mean “speed up” and red means “one more car.” If you abide by these rules then you will be just fine. If you don’t, you can expect to have plenty of car accidents. Also, the stop signs with white borders are optional. I’ll let you ponder that one.
-Contrary to its geographical location, Miami is NOT in the United States. You will soon realize that knowing English gets you nowhere around here. To all of you who studied French and Latin in high school, I pity you for the years you wasted.
-In case you haven’t noticed, it’s really hot outside! So for all of us wimpy northerners who can’t take the heat, there is absolutely no shame in taking the air-conditioned shuttle buses everywhere you go. Now if only they went up to the door of the dining hall.
-If you don’t know how to salsa, learn. If you haven’t learned by the time you graduate, you haven’t really experienced Miami.
-Down here, everyone calls it “soda.” So if you ask for a “pop” or a “coke,” everyone will just look at you like you’re from Mars. And if you call a Pepsi “coke,” then you probably deserve that look.
-I wouldn’t suggest making any anti-Semitic jokes around here unless you want the full backlash of the Holocaust to fall upon you. Plus, you’ll find the kosher sandwiches that they serve in the C-store to be simply delicious.
-I wouldn’t suggest making any gay jokes, either. The backlash could be equally as terrifying.
-Miami is quite possibly one of the few places in the U.S. where it’s awkward to be white. Some of the largest groups on campus are the Federation of Cuban Students, United Black Students, the Indian Student Association and several others. I think the general message is that white people are bland and boring so they don’t deserve their own club. But I’m not complaining. What would we do there anyways-polka?
As unique as Miami is, trust me when I say that you made the right choice in coming here. There truly is no place on earth like Miami. So enjoy it and if anyone wants to start a polka club please let me know. Let’s hear it for diversity!
Kendra Moll is a junior majoring in psychology and religion. She still takes the air-conditioned shuttles everywhere and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.