This is in response to John Hoff’s Thursday column “Have you hugged a “Nodak’ today.” I was born in Dickinson, N.D. and graduated from Dickinson High School. Please, do not pity me. Instead, envy me. I grew up in a town of 16,000 people, and I knew at least 80 percent of them, and no, I was not related to all of them. I graduated in a class of 208 students. We did not have a lot of people move away or move in. It gave us a nice, comfortable, safe and sturdy feeling growing up.
North Dakota does have a lack of events and professional sports teams, and well, trees, but that doesn’t make it a barren wasteland. North Dakota is widely known for its great hunting, bringing in many outsiders yearly. North Dakotans have, unfortunately, been infamous for binge drinking and underage drinking, but the same exact things happen in other states. Why point the finger at North Dakota? North Dakotans are sought out in the business because of our wonderful work ethic. We are brought up with old-fashioned morals and values and the feeling that we can ride our bikes anywhere in our towns, talk to anyone and go anywhere we please because it’s safe. Yes, going to large cities may scare us, but everyone ” even Minnesotans ” are scared of the unknown. If you came from a place where nine out of 10 people are conservatives, people with green mohawks, dog chains and exceptionally long fingernails would startle you, too.
Many students do leave North Dakota after graduation, and we should be commended. Many Minnesotans stay close to home, never knowing what it is like to truly grow up away from their parents. Many students here at the University go home every weekend or at least once a month. How is that preparing them for the real world? Numerous North Dakotans do stay in the state, the majority attending North Dakota State University and University of North Dakota. There is nothing wrong with either of those institutions, as the University’s men’s hockey team recently found out.
Those students stay in North Dakota so they can be closer to home, is that not the same reason most Minnesotans attend the University? Numerous students say they will return to raise their children in North Dakota and not just to pacify their parents. Why wouldn’t we want to raise our children there? Our children would know what it is like to jump in a pile of leaves in the fall, play in snow forts in the winter, sing in the rain in the spring and bathe in the sun in the summer. Our children also would grow up with the feeling of security, knowing the only people they truly need to fear are tourists: Minnesotans and Canadians mainly. Hoff says that North Dakotans might not share their pain with outsiders. Hoff is right. We just do not feel comfortable bashing Minnesota to Minnesotans. We were taught tact, respect and manners. There were times when we hated growing up in North Dakota, not being able to go to big shopping centers, professional sporting events or large concerts, but everyone has some beef with their home state. I am sure if I grew up in Minnesota, I would have hated living here every time the Vikings lost, which would have been a lot more than I ever hated living in North Dakota. We may not have any professional sports teams, but we never had a sex scandal on a yacht either. We have never won a Super Bowl, but hey, neither has Minnesota.
Feel free to hug us, love us or hate us but no matter what, it won’t bother us. We will be just fine, not only because of the great University we chose to attend, but also because of the great place we came from. And if you still think that North Dakota is a horrible place to live, at least it’s not Canada.
Jenna Sandman is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]