When I found out that I had the option of taking classes at both FAMU and Florida State through the Co-op Program, I jumped at the opportunity.
I did this because graduate schools and even some employers seek applicants who’ve taken advantage of diverse education opportunities – but I did it more so for the experience.
I decided that, like all new ventures, I would have no expectations of what FSU would be like. Of course, being a local, I’ve had several family members attend both institutions. So given the differences, if indeed there were any, I had some background information on which to go by.
Of course, many of the Seminoles in my family would tell me that FSU was inherently the better school; I venomously gawk at this notion. And keeping with separatist traditions of the South, the Rattlers would remind me of the atrocities committed against their alma mater by those at the school across the tracks.
Hearing these perspectives made me more eager to begin classes at FSU.
So what have I noticed during my time on the “other Hill”? Honestly, both schools are quite similar in my opinion. Frankly, one has a lot of white people and the other black. There are some marked cultural contrasts, though, all of which deserve mention.
At FSU, fashion is a joke. The majority of students don’t go out of their way to dress up for class. The laid back attire in turn allows for a chill—if you will—classroom environment. And though I completely disregard fashion no matter where I am, attending class off of the runway was quite refreshing.
Since FSU is a larger school, the interaction between student and professor is limited – unless one party goes out of their way to mingle with the other. In this sense, the majority of FAMU professors truly uphold the school’s motto, assuring students have the proper resources to be successful in their course. I don’t believe they have to do this, but since FAMU is smaller professors often have no choice but to get to know some of their students for the semester.
Other than the differences I just mentioned, both schools are the same. What’s shameful is that both institutions seem to keep with the separate, but equal attitude of the Old South that was responsible for the establishment of both schools. I’ve found evidence of this anytime I wear my Rattler insignia to my other school and am treated to a host of awkward stares; awkward for the people giving them, at least.
As politics and attitudes change, a merger of the two schools is certainly not out of the question. Any fiscally sound person can tell you there is no need for two schools with duplicate programs. The question then becomes which one merges with which? When this day comes though, hopefully the social climate will have changed so the answer will immediately be: “Who cares?”
Nonetheless, now that I’ve gone to both schools, I laugh at sardonic Seminoles who think that their school is somehow superior to my own. I wag my finger at rancorous Rattlers who cringe at the very mention of FSU, as if our problems are their fault.
But what folks at both FAMU and FSU fail to realize is that in the circus we call the Florida legislature, neither of them matter to lawmakers.