Intro to Minnesota: The Land of 10,000 Lakes, Uff-da, and Spam

For some out-of-state-readers, you may only know Minnesota through the classic films like Fargo, New in Town, and Grumpy Old Men (and if you have no idea what we’re talking about, and you’re thinking of going to school in Minnesota, watching those movies may be a good place to start your research). However, we don’t want you to stop there. Minnesota has more to offer than “Dontchaknow?” and “Uff-da.”

The Accent

No matter how much we like to think we don’t have an accent, the closer we get to Canada, the harsher our vowels become. Please give us some grace when we talk about grabbing our plastic “baygs” from Target, or how we pledged allegiance to the “flayg” in high school, or how we never want to be a “nayg” when we need something. Snicker all you want at our clipped, speedy speech. We’d like to think we’re more efficient. (Besides, no matter how much you laugh at our inability to open our mouths and make the pleasant “ah” sound most Americans use for bagel, we physically can’t, so don’t waste your breath on giving us a hard time. You’ll need it to keep you warm during the occasional polar vortex.)


For whatever reason, if we can put potatoes and cream of mushroom together, we will, and it will taste like a room full of old ladies with quilts across their laps as they continue to stitch by hand. You’ll leave the table with your bellies warm and full, acknowledging that carrots really do work with kielbasa.

Spam: What Is It?

Nobody knows. But we love it. (For the broke college student, it tastes delicious fried and slapped within a grilled cheese for the extra protein.) And, on the plus side, it’ll survive nuclear warfare, along with Betty White. 


For our sunshine state friends, we can’t lie to you about this. Winters are harsh. It gets dark about 4:30 p.m. and stays dark until 7:30 a.m., especially during December. Seasonal depression is a serious concern, even for us localists who are used to a solid four months of limited light. Make sure to take your vitamin D, and at Bethel University, you can even check out a “happy lamp” from the library. Driving to get your groceries on the weekend can feel like you’re on an episode of Ice Road Truckers, and every assumption you made about Minnesotans being “nice” flies out the window with the gestures some drivers give you as you try to merge onto Interstate 694.

Snow Days

As a kid, they were delightful, especially when we were able to bundle up and read the most current fantasy series or play outside until our chapped cheeks screamed in the wind. However, as people grow a little more self-aware and independent, snow days are the worst. You just never know what to expect. Your school may cancel classes at 6 p.m. the night before a severe snowstorm only to wake up to a perfectly sunny day. Then to compensate for the unnecessary time off, the next time it snows 15 inches, you and your three closest friends can bobsled to school. And when it’s 50 degrees below zero, people should be struck by lightning if they even think of leaving their houses, yet you may find yourself in your frozen car willing to offer your firstborn child so it will start. Unpredictable isn’t the half of it.

Minnesota Nice

Sometimes, we’re so nice that we become passive aggressive to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Let’s just say when a Minnesotan has to handle conflict things get…interesting.

Roommate drama is the prime example for passive aggressiveness—where, instead of having the hard and heavy conversation about doing routine chores or eating one another’s food, Minnesotans may find themselves leaving notes above the sink covered with smiley faces and a polite “Please do your dishes—” or, end up hiding their food in their dresser drawers until their potatoes grow eyes and take over their pajamas.

But, then again, Minnesotans are nice, especially as they hold doors open for strangers, occasionally shovel their neighbors’ driveways, and take about three hours to say goodbye because they want to wish their conversation partner well on all their future endeavors.


One of the great things about going to college is the opportunity to live somewhere new. Could your somewhere new be Bethel? Whether you’re from the Twin Cities, the other side of the state, across the country, or beyond—there’s an admissions counselor here for you. Meet them today!