Students call Tallahassee home for holiday season

Many Rattlers packed their belongings to head home over the past winter break.

While some students enjoyed visiting family and friends, others spent their holiday season on The Hill.

Marcus Santiago’s role on the Florida A&M University’s men’s basketball team kept him from spending Christmas with his family.

“I had to spend Christmas in Tallahassee,” said Santiago, a business administration sophomore from Celebration.

“I am not looking forward to another Christmas in Tallahassee,” he said.

Santiago, 19, had to return to Tallahassee after spending only four days with his family in Atlanta to attend basketball practice.

Aside from his participation on the basketball team, Santiago is also very active in his church. Because of his brief stay at home, he was unable to attend Sunday service.

Santiago said he spent time reading his Biblical Foundation for Leadership WorkBook to make up for his absence.

“I learned about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts,” he said.

For another student, spending the holiday break in the capital city was voluntary.

Jamaal Nix, a 19-year-old freshman psychology student, calls Tallahassee home. Nix spent his Christmas in Tallahassee with his family.

He was particularly looking forward to enjoying the company of his 17-year-old sister Sakeitra, whom he does not get to spend time with because of family separation.

Nix said the Christmas break was a great opportunity for him to prepare for the spring semester.

“I am ready for school to start now,” Nix said. “As I get older, Christmas becomes another day.”

Other circumstances forced some students to remain in Tallahassee.

Tony Brown, an 18-year-old freshman business administration student from Queens, NY, did not plan on spending his Christmas in Tallahassee, but he did just that.

His family decided to come down and visit him for the holidays. But unlike Santiago, Brown didn’t mind the stay in Tallahassee versus a trek back home.

“I would want to spend the holidays where my family is,” he said. Brown said Christmas is more meaningful than money, clothes and other gifts.

“To me, Christmas is a time to get together with family and appreciate the life of Christ,” Brown said.

Brown said his fall grades were all he needed.

“I got my report card and it was great,” Brown said. “Now I’m ready for the next semester.”

His most memorable moment for the break was a word of encouragement he gave to his family.

“I did a prayer that incorporated every hardship and made it noticeable that their actions weren’t going unnoticed by me or God,” Brown said. “The reaction on their faces was something I would never forget.”

While Brown was enjoying his holiday break here in Tallahassee, he missed his friends who went home in other cities.

“I feel like I’m being left behind because FAMU has become a big part of my life,” Brown said.

“When the people that I’m always around are not there I just feel left out.”

Although Brown missed the company of his friends, he said he was able to savor the essence of Christmas with his family.