A student’s perspective coming from Dakota to Kato

As a freshman, heading off to college is a big step. Going to college in another state is a different story. You have to learn how to navigate a new city and familiarize yourself with the culture all the while still maintaining a sense of where you grew up.

I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While home is less than three hours away, it didn’t take me long to pick up on a few differences in culture between the two bordering midwestern states.

First off, during the welcome weekend, the amount of shock I received from others regarding where I came from was appalling. 

Everyone I talked to was either from Minnesota or towns from Wisconsin along the border of Minnesota. When I mentioned that I was from South Dakota, people looked at me like I had four heads. As if I shouldn’t know what state I was in.

It’s not uncommon to go out of state for college, but the fact that I didn’t decide to go to an in-state school seemed to baffle them.

On top of the shock that an outsider was allowed into the state, I would ask others if they had ever been to South Dakota. 

A good percentage of them had never been in their entire life. I’ve been to Minnesota a handful of times. I’ve gone camping near Hibbing and Fergus Falls, been to Minneapolis and Stillwater several times and I’ve visited smaller towns throughout the state. 

It’s not like I moved here from two states away. South Dakota borders Minnesota a good portion, so I highly recommend visiting Sioux Falls and if you can brave a super long car drive, head out to the Black Hills and tour Mt. Rushmore.

For the rare few people I’ve talked to who have visited South Dakota and some of my friends’ friends, some of them have said that South Dakotans have come across as rude. 

Now, I may be biased, but growing up in Sioux Falls my entire life, I’ve found that a majority of the people who live there are nice. Step into any store, local or chain, and someone will offer their help. If you’re out on a walk, the South Dakotan thing to do is say hi to them, whether you know them or not. 

I walk by hundreds of college students a day here and nobody acknowledges each other. To me, the common courtesy I was taught as a youth slipped out of my mind to the point where I have to bite my tongue so I don’t come off strange.

A big difference that I’ve noticed is the amount of sports fans. 

Walk into any store and you’ll be bombarded with merchandise splattered with the logos of the Vikings, the Twins, the Wild and, of course, Gophers and Mavericks. 

South Dakota stores offer any NFL or MLB merchandise due to the fact that our state doesn’t have its own sports team (I can hear you saying “lame” right now). I think that it’s refreshing to come into a state where the majority of people come together to root for a team that represents their state. 

While I do certainly miss my favorite local downtown stores (Mint & Basil and Zandbroz) and not having to worry about roundabouts (seriously, why do you guys like driving in circles?) I’ve loved the last two and half months here in Mankato. 

I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve loved exploring the town and finding my new favorite places. 

Getting out of your state allows you to branch out and gain new experiences. So, stop over and say to South Dakota if it doesn’t kill you. 

Header photo: Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located in Keystone S.D. (Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter)

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