Being a Nole in Rattler country

It’s more difficult thanit sounds. Being a Seminole in a school full or Rattlers can be intimidating – at least for some. I never found it intimidating, but there have been times that I’ve noticed some preconceived notions about people from Florida State coming to the highest of seven hills.

“Turner, you need to pick one – Rattler or `Nole…” a friend of mine from FAMU told me. “You can’t be both!”

As a matter of fact, I do consider myself just as much a Rattler as I do a Seminole. To me, both identities have become one. I consider myself a student at both universities – not just someone at FSU who happens to take classes at FAMU.

Taking classes in journalism has been, without question, the most rewarding experience I have ever had. The opportunity to attend two reputable universities for my undergraduate studies has been irreplaceable.

What I don’t understand is how there can be so little – for the lack of a better term -cohesion between these two schools that are a mere five minutes apart. I have noticed severe animosity spewing from both campuses. FSU students have a negative connotation of FAMU’s homecoming weekend, and many FAMU students dislike the Seminoles in favor of the Miami Hurricanes.

No, this doesn’t mean that everyone at each university has the same view of the other university. I remember being dropped off at my residence hall at FSU after returning from a class at the J-School and hearing my friend driving say, “It’s so refreshing up here.”

I was confused so I asked her to elaborate. She said, “I get it, we’re all black at FAMU. It’s nice to see a little bit more of the real world than just black.”

Personally, I do not have a problem with FAMU’s homecoming weekend. If anything that is one of the most fun weekends of the fall semester!

I have heard some people compare FSU and FAMU to a cross-town rivalry as strong as the Yankees-Mets rivalry. This, to me, would make sense if we ever played each other in sports or academic challenges, but it seems that there is very little cooperation OR competition between the universities on an institutional level. The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is a great cooperation on the institutional level, but what else is there? FSU Students may minor in Journalism at FAMU, and FAMU students may take classes at FSU, but what major institutional cooperation is there other than the engineering college, which isn’t on either school’s campus?

Tallahassee is a city of well over 60,000 college students at three major schools – FSU, FAMU and TCC. The city’s mayor, John Marks, spent a few days in the spring semester of 2010 trying to reach out the city’s hand to its college students. He visited both FSU and FAMU’s union to meet some students at both universities. He neglected, however, to mention that he wanted any kind of cooperation between the schools.

I want to reiterate that being a student at both universities has been, without question, the greatest experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade my time at FAMU or FSU for the world.