In the spirit of my alma mater’s homecoming week. I’ve been feeling real nostalgic recently as I reminisce about my college experience.
If you don’t already know by now, I attended the prestigious Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida. The school was founded on October 3, 1887 and called the State Normal College for Colored Students, with 15 young newly freed slaves and two instructors. Now, 124 years later, FAMU’s main campus comprises 156 buildings spread over 422 acres atop the highest of Tallahassee’s seven hills and enrolls nearly 12,000 students from the United States and more than 70 countries such as India, Egypt, Trinidad, Netherlands, China, Bahamas, Jamaica, and Brazil. Florida A&M University offers 62 bachelor’s degrees and 39 master’s degrees. The university has 13 schools and colleges and one institute. The university also offers a juris doctor at its College of Law in Orlando. FAMU also has 11 doctoral programs which includes 10 Ph.D. programs.
Okay, I felt like what better place for me to brag about my school than on my own blog. Since I couldn’t attend our homecoming festivities this year, which began Sunday and ends on Saturday with our big game against the sorry Howard University Bisons. (I got friends who went there, but when it comes to school beef, I take no prisoners.)
To celebrate our Founders Day, and in the spirit of Homecoming Week, I’m happy I was able to attend my FIRST Classic game last month in Atlanta. It was fun to get away and shop at Little 5 Points, eat Gladys Chicken & Waffles, see old friends and even get a chance to interview celebrity hair stylist Derek J. As a college student, I didn’t club, drink, smoke or fornicate too much in comparison to my fellow coeds. I was a “lame” as my friends called, and locked myself in our School of Journalism & Graphic Communication every day until December 11, 2009. I know I missed out on the “fun moments” of the college experience, but for the organizations I did join and the parties and homecoming, graduation and random events throughout the year that I did attend, I did capture the essence of what it was to be a proud Rattler.
Being from New York City and of Jamaican descent, the black college experience is very unfamiliar up here. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Tallahassee, Florida in August of 2006. Heck, by January 2007, I transferred back to NYC and attended Brooklyn College for a semester because I experienced a culture shock. I have never been around so many ‘country’ black people before!! However, after a few weeks at BC, I realized what it was at FAMU that I didn’t expect to have in college. I had a FAMUly. I’m not trying to make y’all cry…wait, yes I am. Because I am. I learned at FAMU, college is more about going class and leaving campus and go home.
It’s about doing community service.
It’s about writing for your campus newspaper.
It’s about running for student government.
It’s about representing your sorority or fraternity.
It’s about finding fellowship with other people from your hometown and bringing a lil’ of your city to Tally.
It’s about walking down a fashion runway, no matter your height or weight.
It’s about filling your closet with your school colors.
It’s about tackling a job to pay for rent and textbooks and learning responsibility by being on your own.
It’s about finding yourself.
Happy Birthday FAMU! I’ll see you next year when we celebrate 125 years of ‘Excellence With Caring.’