Welcome to the FAMUly Class of ‘24

Photo courtesy  Mia Uzzell

As the semester slowly winds down, the university gears up to beckon a fresh batch of Rattlers upon the Hill. There is an inexplicable wave of emotion that will be felt even in the deepest nooks and crannies of the university. The warm, congenial presence of upperclassmen extol the excellence of this beloved institution as a welcoming gift to the incoming freshmen.

So to the class of ‘24, while in awe of this atmosphere, you will soon begin to find your place in what us Rattlers affectionately call our “FAMUly.”

Before the semester begins, the summer orientation sessions precede the anticipated move-in day for the entering class. It is the first tangible experience of the YouTube hype around the dozen of FAMU viral videos that capture students and parents alike living it up at the live showcases.

It is the first familial outing with newfound relatives you’ve never met but already connected with through social media following frenzies and the thousands of welcome group chats. Most of all, it is the first glimpse at the beauty of the lush green landscape that frames the archaic rust orange bricked buildings, — the first glimpse of your new home.

In the span of the three days on the campus, your eager spirits are sure to soak in all the sensations. As soon-to-be college students, you’ll scatter to and fro’ across the historic quadrangle internalizing your first encounter with such an expanse of black excellence. Although premature in thought, the idea of grazing shoulders with future corporate mavens or professional athletes is a euphoric mindset to live in and not just dream about.

Concealed in this seemingly perfect world is something many incoming freshmen are taken aback by, but quickly learn to accept: FAMU Twitter.

It is the university’s channel of FAMU-related memes, live commentary at events, and, notoriously, a breeding ground of freshmen jokes.

Year after year, the upperclassmen, after viewing the footage of the orientation sessions, give all the newbies a crash course on their version of university decorum and then proceed to spew out all the wrongs of the incoming class.

Many will quickly take defense, tweeting out their strongest jabs, while others take another approach of ignoring the media madness. However, adjusting to the slew of heated vacillating conversations on Twitter is something you’ll have to eventually accept from your “FAMUly.”

Of course, a family is still a family despite their unwarranted behavior, or, in the case of FAMU, their sometimes uncalled-for Tweets.

Fast forward to what may feel like an eternity — especially for those itching to leave the nest — the move-in day arrives. Cars will line Wahnish Way and Gamble with antsy families inside. Instagram timelines are flooded with move-in day photos that transform antiquated dorms to elaborate studio apartments.

Then behind the screens of those photos, the moment happens. The moment where parents say goodbye and release you to the hands of FAMU for the next four years. As you watch your loved ones drive away in cars that wind down the road until they are specks among the traffic, there is a sudden realization.

You instantly know that your family is no longer in sight, but a new one has welcomed you with open arms. One that comes with new family members that foster a sense of value within you, with relatives that troll them online, and with a repertoire of excellence you have no choice but to continue. One that is a “FAMUly.”