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florida state football field
florida state football field
Original photo by Lauren Sparling

Being a Seminole in a Gator Family

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

In 1989, Maryanne McAteer was getting ready for a picnic at the University of Florida (UF) with her roommate when her roommate’s fiancé arrived with his best buddy, Mike Roguski, in tow. Mike was visiting Gainesville for the very first time while on leave from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The two Marines had driven nearly nine hours just to attend a picnic and spend the weekend in the college town. Mike and Maryanne expected to spend their afternoon partying, socializing, enjoying the park, and meeting many new people. Instead, they sat on a wooden picnic table, hour after hour, until there was nothing but a single candle illuminating their faces for a conversation that seemed to never end.  

A decade or two later, my three siblings and I had heard countless stories of the fun Mike and Maryanne Roguski had in Gainesville every time Mike would make the nine-hour drive down to see her. My parents have always had such fond memories of UF, and the way they described the town made my siblings and I want to attend as well. In 2018, my sister Alexis was accepted and began her schooling to become a nurse at UF, and the Gator pride in my parents’ hearts grew. While we have never been a football family or the type to proudly rock the blue and orange colors, there was always an understanding that we were a Gator family because of my parents’ connection to the university. And when it was time for me to start thinking of my college plans, I always assumed I would also attend UF. But when my senior year of high school started approaching, I decided that Florida State University (FSU) would be the fit for me, and I ended up never even applying to UF! 

Although proud of the accomplishment of my acceptance, my parents and siblings, especially my Mom, made endless jokes and teases about how I was betraying the Gators by attending the rival school; they feigned disgust at my academic choices. It wasn’t until my mom came to tour campus with me in the summer of 2020 (self-guided tour on an empty campus, thank you 2020) and saw Legacy Walk in full bloom that she was willing to admit FSU had its own beauty as well. The three-hour drive from Tallahassee to Middleburg was spent excitedly discussing all the parts of campus we envisioned becoming regular spots for me and my friends. 

My siblings, Ashley and John, were next to visit during move-in to DeGraff Hall, and they were able to appreciate the brick architecture and quaint courtyard that the hall had to offer. Although they were unable to fully appreciate and explore campus — once again, thank you, 2020 — they made the most of it and turned an emotional day into one of smiles and laughter. 

My dad’s military career did not end with his honorable discharge from the Marines. He spent nearly all of 2020 on a vessel off the coast of Saipan. So when he drove up to DeGraff Hall in November of 2020 to pick me up for Thanksgiving break, it was a joyful reunion after nine long months of not seeing each other.  

Ashley has come to Tallahassee many times since, and John is planning trips to attend FSU basketball games with me this upcoming season. Although my family once thought of my status as a Seminole as a betrayal, the fond memories formed on campus since have opened their hearts to FSU. My parents even show very little reluctance when wearing their “Seminole Mom” and “Seminole Dad” T-shirts now! 

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Sophie Roguski is a Junior at Florida State University, majoring in International Affairs, with a minor in Hospitality Management. She loves romcoms, celebrity gossip, and has a strong desire to travel more.