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Welcome to New Jersey

What makes something taste like home and feel like home? Is it the scenery, food or maybe just a familiar accent or phrase? Every state has its own little shops, sayings and quirks that make it unique. If you grew up eating at Whataburger, Raising Cane’s, Zaxby’s, In-n-Out Burger, WaWa, Waffle House or any other localized chain you know how hard it is to describe your love for them to anyone else.

State pride can be shown in many different ways and causes natives to defend some odd things. With the noticeable five percent increase in out-of-state students in recent years (from 30 percent in 2012 to 35 percent this year), more people on campus are able to share in some of New Jersey’s particular oddities.

This out-of-state shock is in response to more than stereotypes about driving, accents and spray tans. It can come from the initial surprise at the community’s uproar when you call “Taylor ham” a pork roll. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with calling it either one depending on where you’re from, but it seems that calling it anything other than “Taylor ham” while in New Jersey comes across as nothing short of blasphemy.

Another phenomenon from this region is WaWa. Many out-of-state students just cannot seem to understand why all the locals love it as much as they do.

“It’s literally a 7-Eleven with a Subway inside and people act like it’s the second coming of Jesus,” junior Andrea Rodriguez, who is from California, said.

WaWa isn’t the only popular chain that is mostly restricted to the east coast. Though it may come as a surprise, Dunkin’ isn’t everywhere in the country either, as freshman Sarah Rizvi from California explains.

“My friends here looked at me like I had three heads when I informed them that I had never tried Dunkin’,” Rizvi said.

Despite some of the things that confuse out-of-staters there are also some great surprises about New Jersey.

“There’s so much beautiful scenery in California I didn’t expect to see anything pretty, but three years in and I’m still surprised and in awe when the seasons change,” Rodriguez said.

Sure there are a few things about New Jersey that take some getting used to, but there also are so many reasons to love it here. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or are coming from across the country, New Jersey has some amazing things to offer.

Samantha Giedris can be reached at

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