Say what you will about Florida A&M University, but I am proud to be a graduate. A product of the university’s esteemed, revered, and sometimes strenuously taxing School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, I’m set to cross the stage on December 11 – and I couldn’t be happier.
Am I ready to graduate? I’m not so sure ready is the word. No, when it comes to the graduation of yours truly I am beyond ready. I am geared up, all prepared, and ultimately equipped to embark upon the next chapter of my life. But I would be a fool if I said the university hasn’t primed me for the challenges ahead.
I graduated from high school in May 2005 and soon found myself short of breath treading the endless hills of FAMU in June 2005. That’s right, I went straight into college without a break and was on campus during the spring, summer and fall semesters. Needless to say, by the end of my sophomore year, I was tired, weary and hopelessly fatigued.But that was when I officially became a journalism student.
I can certainly say there are caring professors in FAMU’s journalism division. Tough love is something in which they seem to enjoy dishing out. With the encouragement of Dr. Valerie D. White, a professor with a knack for cutting students down and building them up again, I joined The Famuan as a correspondent and eventually worked my way up to becoming Sports Editor, Lifestyles Editor and Managing Editor.
When Professor Yanela Gordon revived the Society of Professional Journalists, I jumped at the opportunity to hold a leadership position and had the opportunity to serve as the organization’s president.
It was in the journalism program that I won a national William Randolph Hearst award. It was here that I learned the value of becoming involved in student media and different organizations. Sure, a high GPA is nice and dandy, but a resume isn’t a resume without something to show.
The professors at our venerated ‘J-School’ are indeed wonderful individuals and have molded their students into successful powerhouses.
So now that I’m graduating – and I thank the Lord that I am – what will I miss most about my time at FAMU? Perhaps chatting with Mrs. McEachin debating whether or not Angie Bolen strangled Julie Mayer on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” Or maybe talking about my never-ending troubles, plights and struggles while eating apple sauce with Dr. White. Or maybe annoying Professor Gordon by declaring “Maximum Overdrive!” every time she walked into a room to assure her that I wouldn’t let her down as SPJ’s new president. Or could it be inventing new dances with my good friend Christine, or coming up with new inside jokes with my hilarious friends Matthew and Caryn?
Whatever the case, I certainly have my memories, but what I’ll treasure most is everything that
I learned during my tenure at the university – to strive to succeed, to apply myself and to not be afraid of a challenge. So yes, say what you will about Florida A&M University, but if you ask me, it’s the best university in the world.
Jaylen Christie is a senior magazine production student from Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.