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An Open Letter to Florida State

Dear Florida State University,

1,329. That’s the number of days since I moved into my freshmen dorm, and since I walked, curious and awestruck, across your campus for the first time as an official Seminole. I remember getting lost my first weekend, confused at how I possibly could ever find my way back to Salley Hall. Now, that memory seems distant and funny; how could I possibly get lost on such a simple campus?

Silly memories aside, you gave me my first collegiate football experience, still on the high from winning a national championship the year prior. Although the subsequent years never lived up to par, chopping and singing the war chant are two things that I came to love and take pride in, no matter the score. As a soccer fan through and through, you opened my eyes to a sport that I’ve come to tolerate (I won’t say “love” just yet; I will never love a sport that requires me to stand in the blazing sun for 4 hours, but maybe one day. . .).

Besides Doak Campbell, I’ll definitely miss your oak trees. I love those oak trees. As a South Florida native, your towering oak trees were like something out of a fairytale, always giving me shade and coverage during hot or rainy days. The first time I visited campus I knew you were where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life, as I could literally picture myself taking in the beauty that is Florida State day in and day out for the next four years.

Oh, and the friendships you’ve given me, thank you. From living with some of my best friends to making new connections at my various jobs and in my different classes, you’ve given me some friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. It’s cliché, but you gave me my people.

Over the years, you’ve helped me grow into the young professional that I am now. Be it through classes, frustrating group projects, internships and jobs, I’ve molded myself into who I want to be through the help of all the resources you’ve given me. Oh, and Collegetown. . . thank you for that, Florida State. Nights spent at Township or Madison Social, brunches at Brass Tap, and pizza from Gaines Street Pies are just a few of the memories I will carry with me for a lifetime.

As you continue getting bigger, adding more shops and fun places, I know when I visit in thirty years to drop my kids off at Florida State you’ll look completely different. But I’ll remember all the good times, bad times and times in between where I spent some of the best years to date.

18. That’s the number of days until I walk across your stage welcoming bigger, scarier and more exciting things.

Here’s to you, Florida State. Go ‘Noles.

All photos courtesy of the author. 

Go Noles.
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