So, this is a big weekend around the state of Alabama. Thousands of
college students from across the country are coming to campuses around the state to begin, or resume, their career of higher learning. An exciting time, no doubt, and we welcome them all to our state.
If you’re the parent of a returning student, you already know these things, but if you’re like my new friend from Michigan, Dave, who is in town to move his daughter in to her dorm at The University of Alabama, there are a few things you need to know that aren’t in any school’s recruiting documents.
1. This is not typical August weather. I woke up this morning to an outdoor temperature of 64 degrees with 50% humidity. That is just not normal. Normal August mornings – and by mooring I mean 6AM – are about 78 degrees with 95% humidity. It only gets hotter and more humid as the sun gets kicking. As we watched the movie by the pool at Ross Bridge last night, it was so cool outside that I made a multi-layer blanket out of pool towels. A typical August is so hot and humid that you instantly break a sweat when you walk outside to pick up the morning paper. This weather is not typical. If you’re considering selling your home on the UP, Dave, and moving south to enjoy this August weather, (and really, the unusually mild weather we’ve had all summer) you may want to check the Farmer’s Almanac. Nonetheless, what a spectacular day for move-in.
2. Football season is year round. Yes, it is August and kickoff of the 2014 college football season is less than 2 weeks away, but that’s not why we’re throwing the football in the pool. We were throwing the football in the pool because that is what we do. We throw the football in the pool, in the snow, during rain delays of NASCAR telecasts, as we wait for soccer practice to start, it’s just what we do. Sometimes we throw footballs and hit them with baseball bats. There used to be a rumor that every child born in Indiana was given a basketball. Well, I can almost assure you that every child born in Alabama is given at least one football, and it’s either orange and blue or crimson and white. I dare say that every boy born in this state already has a football jersey in his wardrobe, and every girl a cheerleader’s uniform, before they leave the hospital. So, don’t be surprised if, when you move your child out next May, the conversation is about the upcoming football season.
3. We generate a lot of revenue with sales tax. I worked in retail after college. I can still see the shock on the man’s face when, after selecting $100 in merchandise, I told him that his total came to $109. “How much is sales tax here?” 9%, I answered. “In Michigan, it’s 2.5%!”
The difference is that property taxes in Michigan are (or were) higher than they are in Alabama. So, as you’re walking through Wal-Mart, or the furniture store, or Best Buy picking up those last few items for school, don’t forget to add 10% to the cost.
4. The person helping you move your child in to his/her dorm will say “yes ma’am”, “no ma’am”, “yes sir”, and “no sir”. I’m not going to try to defend it or explain it, just know that they’re going to say it. And they’re going to lift heavy boxes and make several trips up and down stairs this weekend. They’re doing it to be polite, and to go ahead an introduce themselves to the incoming freshmen. That’s how my cousin and her husband of 20+ years met.
5. Our campuses are nice, but Alabama offers so much more. Campuses and dorms have changed A TON since I graduated 21 years ago, but Alabama has a lot more to offer that campuses can’t provide. In addition to the lakes, streams, and state parks sprinkled throughout the state, from central Alabama, you’re a 4.5 hour drive to the beach, 4.5 hour drive to the mountains of east Tennessee and North Carolina, a 3 hour drive to Nashville, a 2 hour drive to Atlanta, and a short 5 hour drive to New Orleans. They’re going to have plenty to do to give them a study break.
So, there you go. Five things they don’t tell you on the recruiting tour. Enjoy your day!