Arts & CultureOutdoorScene Guide

Lewis: Lessons for a future Oregonian from a former Californian



As you prepare for your first year away from home, you must be wondering what Oregon is really like. You have visited campus, participated in IntroDUCKtion and bought your first Duck shirt, but maybe you’re still curious what to expect. Many have walked in your shoes before, and the Emerald has compiled some recommendations to help you adjust to your new home.

Don’t use umbrellas

If you haven’t heard by now, rain is a big deal in Oregon. While Northern California gets its fair share, Oregon has more. You might be thinking, “I need to invest in an expensive umbrella.” Stop! You are wasting packing space. Oregon rain is consistent, but not overpowering. Most of the time it is nothing more than a mild sprinkle. Oregonians take the rain in stride, and you should too. Lose the umbrella and make sure you have a trusty rain jacket. In fact, the absence of a clunky umbrella is liberating.

Don’t try to pump your own gas

This one takes some getting used to. When you pull into an Oregon gas station, resist the urge to hop out of your car, pop the gas cap off and begin the routine you’ve mastered since you were a mere high schooler. By law, Oregon gas stations are full service, meaning the gas station attendant has to work the pump for you. Even if there are eight pumps and one attendant, you just have to sit there. Instead of festering with the knowledge that you could have been on the road ten minutes ago, get creative. Use this newfound time to clean out that disorganized glove compartment, call your parents or text your friends to avoid texting and driving. Just don’t get out of the car. You will be ridiculed.

A large percentage of the university’s out-of-state students hail from the Golden State. (Kelly Kondo/Emerald)

Do watch the lingo

Many Californians take pride in the unique vocabulary and linguistic style cultivated in the Golden State. Even though your local language is fun to use, check the lingo at the state line. Southern California folk: Nothing says “I’m a California transplant” like calling Interstate 5 “The 5.” Simply replace with “I-5” and you’ll fit right in. Northern California folk: No one besides you knows what “hella” or “finna” or “out of pocket” means. Try to remember how you describe things with other English words found in a dictionary. Alternatively, you can attempt to teach some of the lingo to your new Oregon friends, but they will most likely judge you.

Don’t get intimidated by how friendly Oregonians are

The social generosity you will experience in Oregon is something California does not prepare you for. Maybe it’s Oregon’s natural beauty — from the Columbia River Gorge to the rugged coastline and beaches, to the striking deserts and rock formations of Eastern Oregon — that mediate any pent up hostility Oregonians might have. Perhaps the hospitality is a coping mechanism for the constant rain in the wintertime, collectively bonding people together. Or maybe it’s all the legal weed. Whatever the source, kindness in Oregon is the state’s best quality. You will receive friendly smiles at the grocery store and help finding your classes on the first day of school. You will even notice complete strangers joining your “Sco Ducks” chants on the bus. Don’t get weirded out by all the positive energy people have here. If you buy in, you might share in the Oregon spirit.

Feeling like the rain is getting you down? Check out the Emerald’s podcast about songs for the rain here.

Follow Frankie Lewis on Twitter: @flewis_1

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Franklin Lewis

Franklin Lewis

Franklin is a senior Arts & Culture writer for the Daily Emerald. Born and raised in San Francisco, he writes about university culture past, present and future. He still doesn't understand why one can't pump his or her own gas in Oregon.

Follow on twitter @flewis_1