The other night I was having dinner with a few friends. The interesting thing about the three of us is that we are all transplants from out of the region. One from New Jersey, one from India and myself from Washington or Maryland or wherever I’m from. Surprisingly, I was comparatively the Midwest seasoned veteran. Neither of them has experienced a winter here yet, which a small slightly evil part of me can’t wait to watch.
Any how, we were sitting around chatting over a glass of wine and we began talking about outsider’s perspectives of North Dakota. My Jersey friend recalls a conversation with family and friends when she told them she would be moving to either North Dakota or possibly Minnesota for school, to which they gasped, “Oh my gosh. Let’s hope you get into Minnesota.”
She responded, “You realize they are RIGHT next door to each other?”
However, for a lot of people, North Dakota sounds more scary and foreign than its neighboring states and even it’s maple leaf neighbor to the North.
Now, when you get a bunch of communication students around a dinner table, of course the discussion inevitably turns to communication related topics. At one point someone stated, “North Dakota needs some serious PR.”
Would that help, though?
What is it about North Dakota that makes even those of us familiar with our nation’s geography suddenly not remember where it is located on a map? Why is moving to North Dakota more terrifying than Montana or Minnesota? Clearly, North Dakota has positive aspects about it. How else could I find things to write about in this blog? In fact, it is virtually impossible to read articles about the state of the economy and not hear something about how well North Dakota is doing and how great the job market is compared to the rest of the country. It even seems that almost every other month, something comes out in the news about Fargo showing up on another top ten list for positive reasons (America’s Worst Weather City excluded). Why then has North Dakota still gotten such a bad rap?
The people are friendly, the food is unique, the scenery is flat but yet somewhat beautiful in a vast-open-farmland sort of way, and the culture is like no where else I’ve ever been (Scandinavian, German and Native American all rolled into one). However, North Dakota still suffers from a bad reputation as a barren tundra in the middle of no where.
That being said, I firmly believe that if someone from New Jersey and someone from India can find endearing things about North Dakota, there is hope for the rest of the country/world as well.