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Minnesota Nice

Chase shares his Californian perspective on the relaxed, midwestern mentality that he's come to admire.

Chase shares his Californian perspective on the relaxed, midwestern mentality that he's come to admire.

Okay, so, life in Minnesota is not like Fargo. That said, the attitude and culture of the midwest is definitely a lot different from back in California and it definitely has translated in a much different college experience here at Carleton.

First of all, the accent: one of the first things I noticed was the pronunciation of words like bag and tag. It turns out it’s a upper midwestern thing, in which people pronounce the vowel in those words like the vowel in hay or pay, so bag and tag sound like bayg and tayg. In some words like coat, too, the o-sound is a bit more pure.

Minnesotans in general seem pretty relaxed and laid-back and this has definitely made its way into some of the student culture here at Carleton. Carleton students are in general unpretentious. Most of my friends don’t know (and generally don’t care) what Carleton’s rank or acceptance rate is and are essentially the antithesis to elitism. Carls also dress extremely casually to the point at which you’ll often see students wearing sweats, a Carleton-logo sweatshirt, and no makeup or accessories out to class or the library. Below is a totally-not-staged photo of me having an unpretentious, casual conversation in the Sayles student center to further illustrate my point:


Additionally, the “nice” of the phrase “Minnesota nice” is definitely a defining feature of a lot of students here. When I was a prospective student, I got lost (several times) around campus and Carleton students would personally walk me to the building I was looking for even if it made them late to class.

Assessing student culture and what life is like in a region of the US where you’re not from is really difficult if you don’t have access to a current student or are not a current student yourself, but I think it’s a really important thing to keep in mind as you choose a college. So, I encourage you to come visit Carleton and see what you think yourself!

Chase Garcia is a junior linguistics major and is more than glad to exchange the year-round California heat for some Minnesota seasonality. In his free time, he enjoys learning and teaching urban dance choreography, playing guzheng, and cycling around Northfield. When Chase doesn’t have free time, which is often, he’ll be in the libe or Sayles with a cup (or cups) of chai tea in hand.