From Florida to New Jersey, One Floridian Rowan University Student on Experiencing Four Seasons

Alec stands arms crossed with vibrant trees behind.

Having a first snowball fight, getting used to not pumping gas and enjoying sweater weather

Meet Alec Lacher, a senior theatre major with concentrations in acting, directing, musical theatre, and theatre education, a minor in creative writing and a CUGS (certificate of undergraduate study) in Shakespearean studies. Read about Alec’s experiences from moving from Orlando, Florida, to Glassboro, New Jersey, for college.

Alec sits casually on a metal bench on campus with trees behind.

Why did you want to leave Florida for college?

“I was always interested in going out of state for school but especially as a performing arts major, being closer to cities such as Philadelphia and New York gave me the opportunity to go into the cities and see what life would be like if I decide to move there once I graduate. I also have had the opportunity to work in Philadelphia while still in school so I got to meet a bunch of people and see what it is like to work professionally.” 

Why did Rowan University appeal to you specifically?

“I found out about Rowan at a theatre conference I went to in Florida where I auditioned for over 100 schools all at once (one of the most nerve-racking things of my life) and Rowan happened to be in attendance. I received a callback from them as well as emails and I started to get into conversation with them. I also did some research on my own and I was really intrigued by their theatre program as well as the different financial aid awards they gave so I decided to come to the school in person and audition. After my audition, I got to walk around the campus with some upperclassman who told me about their experience and all of the different opportunities there were. I loved this as well as the atmosphere of the campus so I decided to come! I also have some family about an hour away so we have been able to get together and reconnect a lot because of Rowan too.”

A field of spring yellow daffodils with the Rowan Glassboro water tower behind it.

How is New Jersey different from Florida?

“One of the biggest things that took me a second to get used to was someone else pumping gas into my car. When I brought my car up to New Jersey for the first time, I had no clue what to say to the workers so I made my best friend (who is from here) stay in the car with me and tell me what to say.”

Alec leans against a tree with vibrant autumn colors and sunshine streaming behind.

Let’s talk seasons. What were some of your first thoughts, opinions or impressions of our New Jersey seasons here at Rowan? How are our seasons different than you expected? What surprised you?

“I love the seasons changing. I love the cold. It might be weird coming from a Floridian, but I love nothing more than seeing leaves change and wearing some sweaters so the seasons have been perfect here. I would like a bit more snow though. It hasn’t snowed that much since I’ve been here. I wanna ride a sled!”

Had you experienced snow before moving to Rowan? What are your thoughts on snow? Any advice to Floridians coming to Rowan on how to handle snow?

“One of my fondest memories of my freshman year was that outside the student center, all of my friends as well as people I had never met before just got together for a gigantic snowball fight. I had never participated in anything like this and it was so much fun! One piece of advice I do have is to make sure to get a good pair of boots. Even though it may not seem like it, stepping into a pile of snow is very similar to stepping into a big puddle.”

What are some tips and tricks you have for Floridians moving to Rowan for school?

“Less is more. I forget who, but some famous designer always says, “once you have all the accessories on, always take one off.” I definitely overpacked my first year preparing for every outlandish event that could happen. Just take what you need first, and if something comes up, mail and shipping exists for a reason and it is easily accessible.”

What are some fun things you’ve experienced around here that are new to you?

“My freshman year, a bunch of friends and I decided to drive down to Atlantic City to see the sunset on the beach. We were all really excited but people were running late and we honestly ended up missing the sunset. But we still sat on the beach together and hung out in pitch black but we were all together and laughing and making memories and we all cherished it together.”

HollyBush Mansion on campus with dark orange trees around.

Are there any brands up here that you’ve grown to love, that aren’t really available (much or at all) in Florida?

“I am 100% a Wawa and Shoprite girl now. Although I miss my Pub Sub’s sometimes from Publix. Shoprite (especially the one next to campus) is so fancy and you literally could go for a meal and not just groceries. And who knew Wawa had more than just gas? (no pun intended).”

Alec sits on a bench on campus smiling.

Do you have any advice for Floridians who may be feeling excited and nervous, but also apprehensive, about leaving their home state to go to college?

“I would say to trust yourself and know that you can do it. It may seem hard, but Rowan has been super welcoming and I have met so many people who I will know for the rest of my life. If you are wondering whether or not to do something at Rowan, just do it. It is better to take chances than live in regret.”

Could you tell us a little about any clubs, organizations or group of friends that make you feel like Rowan is your home away from home?

“As a theatre major, I very much am a part of the family that is the theatre and dance department. I have gotten to know so many people from different places and the honor society Alpha Psi Omega has been a great way for me to keep these relationships and work with others on service events and other activities. I have met some of my best friends in the department as well as the College of Performing Arts.”

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Written by: Jordyn Dauter, junior double major in dance & elementary education

Photos by: Valentina Giannattasio