10 Things Every Girl Needs to Know Before Starting College in the South

Sorority life, tailgate season, oyster roasts, oh my. A few things to know before the first day of school.

Anna Aguillard
Shelby Davidson
Ole Miss Sorority Sisters
Sorority sisters at the University of Mississippi primp for tailgating at the legendary Grove.
Photo: Robbie Capponetto

College is a huge adjustment, no matter how far you travel to get there. Juggling classes. Making friends. Choosing activities. Deciding to rush or not to rush. Here’s our guide to navigating through the monograms, the pearls, and everything in between.

1. Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody.
We’re like one big happy family. And networking (think: future boss) starts from day one.

2. A sorority is much more than letters on a t-shirt.
It’s called a sisterhood for a reason: this is your tribe, and they will stick with you through every twist and turn that comes your way over the next four years and beyond. Treasure these friendships (hello, future bridesmaids!) Just remember you can never have too many quality friendships—and that includes pals outside your sorority as well.

3. Your college’s colors are really important to your wardrobe (especially during football season).
Because, like it or not, you’ll need at least ten tailgating outfits.

4. Keeping a healthy diet is doable—but hard.
The truth is you will need your weekly helping of fried chicken and biscuits but try and balance it out with some fruits and veggies, too.

5. Picking a team is mandatory.
If you don’t go to an SEC school, you still need to have a team. Pick one—and stick to your decision. There’s no wavering, especially in states with internal divides—Auburn or Alabama? Clemson or USC?—so pick a team, and show your allegiance whenever you are asked. And trust us, you will be asked.

6. Your Southern manners will come in handy with professors.
Professors will be impressed with face-to-face communication over an email. Get a few brownie points and make sure to use "please" and "thank you" during class.

7. Lilly Pulitzer, although a favorite, is not the only designer we love.
Wear your brights all year long, just don’t lose your signature, personal style.

8. Southern chivalry isn’t dead.
Don’t be surprised when a bow-tie wearing boy holds the door for you. Remember to thank him, but don’t demand a “ring by spring” from the first Southern gentleman you meet.

9. Beware the Southern “he said, she said.”
Nothing breeds gossip like a college campus full of Southern women. Not everything you hear is truth—or worth repeating. Just kill ‘em with kindness, or a tempered “bless her heart.”

10. Calling home is always a good idea.
College is a tough adjustment for all of us. And between your momma, your daddy, and your hometown friends, you’ll always have a caring heart just a phone call away.