Southern hospitality and The Hill

Columnist Kyra Watts.
Photo courtesy Kyra Watts

The transition from living in Atlanta to Tallahassee was more than just adjusting to the lack of love for Waffle House. The vibe itself is completely different.

I knew the minute that I first stepped foot on the campus of Florida A&M University as a student that something was different. Florida is in the Deep South of the United States of America, but surprisingly the people in Tallahassee seem to lack Southern hospitality.

“I noticed the lack of Southern hospitality early on as a freshman,” said Jimia Brown, a FAMU graduate student from Montgomery, Alabama.

The atmosphere in Georgia is so much more welcoming compared to here in Florida . If i’m walking down the street back home everyone that I pass will either greet, smile or nod their head at me in passing.

It’s very rare that someone walks past you in Georgia and doesn’t acknowledge you, but it’s considered weird when people do this in Florida.

“I was shocked to discover people my age spoke to people they didn’t know,” said Isis Nelson, a second-year biology major from Miami.

Both cities are located in the South but have two different Southern styles. Even though there are many friendly students at FAMU who are naturally friendly and inviting, there are many who aren’t and that’s the norm in their home cities.

This goes to show how deep the cultural differences are of all the cities represented by the students at FAMU . It kind of forces you to interact with people who were raised differently than you rather than only gravitating toward what you grew up in.

Southern hospitality is still present here at FAMU because of the influence from  students from places like Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, etc. All of the different cultures mesh together after a while.

An individual’s personality can have a lot of influence on how they act now, but we all still carry that piece of home with us. The adjustment is pretty slight but very significant considering the fact that we’re now surrounded in a brand new atmosphere for years.

I still embrace my Southern hospitality to the fullest. I believe that being open and inviting is contagious. Even if the people that i’m around aren’t used to it, they’re more open to embracing it because they recognize the culture that comes with it.