No matter where you go to college, you’ll find that your expectations are not always in line with with the reality of your school. Here are some things I learned about Florida State University after I got to campus.
1. Tallahassee is not Miami.
There are palm trees and co-eds. There are not beaches, luxury retail shopping centers, streets to cruise, or hot nightclubs. You are in north Florida. This means rolling red hills, mudding, lots of drinking, and wilderness hikes.
2. No matter what University of Florida students say, FSU is a first class university.
Having graduated from both schools, I can say that the education I received at FSU was equal to, and at times more valuable, than the education I received at UF. Some classes at FSU are harder than the same ones at UF.
3. Be careful of the fire ants.
These horrible stinging red ants can be found in the grass of FSU’s many lawns. If you sit down on the grass, you risk getting bitten by one or more. To be safe, sit on the sidewalk at least there you can see the ants coming.
4. Make friends with FAMU students.
Florida A&M University is located on other side of town. The students there are interested in making friends at FSU. Since the two universities share the College of Engineering, this is a no brainer for engineering students.
5. Panama City Beach and Jacksonville Beach are about a two hour drive away.
Panama City Beach lies to the west and Jacksonville Beach to the east. Both beaches are vacation spots that are full of people in the warm months of fall, spring, and summer.
If you’re interested in Florida State University, check out our story on Professors at FSU.
6. Athletics are not the only part of student life.
You’d never know it from the media coverage, but there’s more to do than go to sporting events. Students have a lot of parties and take road trips that have nothing to do with the football schedule.
7. You can take an internship or job at any state agency, as well as at research institutions that make their home in Tallahassee.
Working at the headquarters of a state agency such as the Florida Department of Transportation can further your career. National research institutions in the city include the Southeast Archaeological Center (SEAC), which is the National Park Service’s archaeological and collections management office for all parks in the Southeast United Stat and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the largest and highest powered magnetic laboratory in the world.
8. International and graduate student housing is not in the best neighborhood.
If you’re going to visit friends in Alumni Village, take the bus. Do not walk through the neighborhood leading up to it.
9. Since Tallahassee is the state capital, election season is really exciting.
You can get in on the action by working for a political campaign and attending rallies and speeches.
10. New restaurants open all the time.
If you’re always looking for a new place to eat, you won’t have to wait very long. New restaurants are constantly opening in this city, mostly along Capital Circle (a beltway that loops around the western, eastern, and southern ends of the city) and in the downtown area.
Jessica Zimmer, a Florida and California-licensed attorney, received a Master of Science in Anthropology from Florida State University in 2007.