The history within the Delta is so rich with culture that it brings people from all over the world to immerse themselves in it.
Caleb Wafer, a junior at Mississippi Valley State University, traveled all the way from Stockton, California, to do just that.
The 19-year-old is majoring in both history and mathematics and plans to go to graduate school.
“I really want to go into business economics and marketing, like looking at data and trends like a consultant,” Wafer said. “I really don’t know what I want to do specifically yet; I’m still in that in-between phase.”
He said that he likes to think logically and analyze data within history, and he can apply those same skills to math.
“I needed to have something that I can apply directly to where industry was moving,” he said.
Wafer is eager to learn more history about the Delta and surrounding areas.. He goes to various nearby museums and visits historical landmarks, such as where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.
“Studying and looking at those events and seeing how things work together, that means everything to me,” he said. “Everywhere you step, there’s a story.”
Wafer said he had relatives who lived in Mississippi, so he wanted to touch on those familial roots and get away from the West Coast.
“A lot of people are scared of the culture shock, but I see it as a challenge,” Wafer said. “I’m all for the adventure; just venturing out from my comfort zone was always something I wanted to do since I was young.”
Wafer said the biggest change on the surface is the weather. “Weather here is never set in stone; it would rain, then it would be humid, and then the weather is just crazy and shocking,” he said.
As far as the atmosphere goes, he said things couldn’t be any more different.
“The food is less vegan,” he said jokingly. “And there’s a whole lot of fields, too.”
He also said that the Southern hospitality is a big change from what he’s used to in Stockton.
“The people here, you have a higher expectation to get out there and speak,” he said. “You can’t just keep to yourself. They kind of pull you out of your shell.”
He also said that Southern hospitality helped him with his homesickness when he first started school in the fall of 2018. “I never left home in a way,” he said.
Wafer tries to visit his family a couple of times a year, but it’s difficult with airfare and planning. He has a 15-year-old brother named Jordan, along with his mother, Mattie, and his father, Cory.
“I expected it to be rocky from the jump,” Wafer said, of being homesick. “A lot of FaceTimes, a lot of calls, a lot of just embracing when you see each other and value all the time you have with them.”
His family always supported his decisions, even when it meant moving across the country. “They always said, ‘Whatever you do, we’re with you 100%.’ I’m grateful I have that backing system.”
Wafer has two semesters left and doesn’t regret his decision to get out of his comfort zone. “It’s all about just being brave and taking that step and realizing that in order to get what you want, you have to sacrifice something.”
•Contact Kerrigan Herret at 581-7233 or email@example.com.