When I first arrived on campus I fell in love with it. The people were cool and the environment was nice.
I was out of my parent’s house! I was excited about becoming a Rattler because rattle-snakes are some of the most feared animals in the world.
I had something to brag about, my beloved school. But, I didn’t know how true to our faithful mascot the student body and administration would be.
I have attended predominately black schools for the majority of my life. So when I arrived at Florida A&M University, I thought it was going to be like the schools I had attended prior to college, with everyone looking out for each other and willing to help. Instead I got a wake up call.
Historically, rattle-snakes are solitary creatures that live alone and prey on the weak. Rattle-snakes come out only at night, and only care about their own survival. Because they can camouflage themselves, people don’t recognize them during the day.
Like rattle-snakes, many people on FAMU’s campus only care about their own survival. Everyone is too busy advancing themselves. People have forgotten the obligation to help others.
My first year at FAMU, I was thrown into the Rattler’s Den, and I got bitten.
The incident was not life threatening, but I have permanent scars.
I lost several friends and saw unimaginable things, but in the process, I found myself.
I tried to get involved in campus activities. I attended all the interest meetings and tried to help out. But, the members of some of the campus organizations treated me like I was wrong for getting involved.
For some strange reason, I believed in what each organization was doing and wanted to change things.
Another thing about snakes is that they try to bring you down. My mother always said, “Son be careful about who you call your friend, the same person smiling in your face will talk bad about you behind your back.”
One of my most hurtful experiences at FAMU was finding out that I had fake friends. I would have done almost anything for them, but the same people who were supposed to be my friends were talking behind my back while hanging out with me like everything was cool.
I wasn’t in my room listening to oldies with a gallon of ice cream crying, but I couldn’t believe that my friends could betray me.
It’s hard to believe negative rumors, but I have learned to be patient because snakes always end up showing themselves.
I’m sure it’s happened to all of us, especially if you’re not hanging out with the same people you were hanging out with last year. And if you’re not hanging out with the people you were hanging out with last year, maybe you should check yourself. You might be a true-hearted-snake.
I just want people to tell people the truth. If you think I’m big, then tell me I’m big. If you think my head is big, please let me know. I’ve heard it before. Tell me something I don’t know.
Fellow Rattlers, the traits of snakes aren’t all bad. What I have learned from our reptilian friends is to develop tough skin.
You can’t wear your emotions on your sleeve because people will take advantage of you and deliberately hurt you.
There are people on this earth with intentions to hurt you and steer you away from your dreams.
But, you have to develop a tough skin, like a rattle-snake, and allow negative actions and comments to roll off your back.
So, I would like to thank the Rattlers of FAMU for showing me the side of life that I didn’t believe existed. To those who haven’t been bitten yet, be careful. Rattlers are real sneaky, if you are not careful they will get you.
Royle King, a sophomore print journalism student from Dallas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.