As a person who came to Tuscaloosa as a student (albeit at a different institution) and has lived in the city for 20 years, it never ceases to amaze me how the University of Alabama and "Tuscaloosa" are two entirely different worlds in the same place.

Many who attended UA experienced the school without ever knowing life in REAL Tuscaloosa, unless they were area residents who chose to not veer far from home and attended the university out of both convenience and because they were fans of the sports programs.

For those who don't fit the previously mentioned profile and haven't befriended anyone of the sort, there are probably some things about the University of Alabama that you'd never know until you meet someone who doesn't share your affinity. (Kinda like how most Americans see America as a powerhouse while much of the world hates us.)

 

5 Things UA Students May Not Know about Tuscaloosa

  1. There is life outside the university. People actually live here. They have permanent homes, jobs, families, etc.  There are concerts, fashion shows, and all kinds of fun things that go on in Tuscaloosa. Sometimes you have to know local people to find out about them because they don't always use mass media to advertise.
  2. NOBODY knows as many bars as you do.  The University of Alabama has slightly eased away from its designation as one of the top party schools in the country, but you'll never find as many bars in the city as you do within a one-mile radius of campus.
  3. Most locals hate your traffic and avoid it if possible. It goes without saying that the infrastructure of the city was never designed to accommodate the school's population. So, construction abounds to alleviate the problem, but during the few summer months where enrollment isn't so great, a leisurely ride through campus is actually quite nice. We enjoy the landscaping and architecture as much as you do. We just don't like to get in your way while you're there.
  4. The school's racist past has not been forgotten. Yes, the stand in the schoolhouse door did happen, and it may not seem like a big deal; but many who were shunned from the school are still alive, and while those who made strides to fight adversity and break down barriers see attending UA as a badge of honor, there are even more who have a hard time getting over the feeling of being unwelcome.
  5. The price of student housing has driven local real estate so that many locals can barely afford to live comfortably. According to DataUSA, the median household income in Tuscaloosa is $42,428.  If housing should be no more than 30% of your income, that means roughly $12,000 per year (or $1,000 per month) is a good cost.  That's for the ENTIRE home. Because you have additional funding to help with the cost of housing, $700 per bedroom in an apartment you share with two other people may not seem like much; but if a family needed that same 3-bedroom apartment, $2,100 is a lot!

This is not to say that there is an entirely negative perception when it comes to locals and their view of the University. It's just that so many people give off the vibe that if it isn't happening at the University of Alabama, it doesn't count