From the day I was born, I was a University of Florida Gator fan. Both of my parents had attended the University of Florida and met there. To say that my dad is a super-fan is an understatement. He hadn't missed a home football game since the late '90s. Talk about dedication! Once my sister and I were born, we would begin to join him in his attendance at the games. My sister and I quickly learned to adopt a similar love for the Gators as my dad (but obviously not the same because his love could not be matched). We learned everything from the cheers to the teams we were supposed to hate, the most important being the Florida State Seminoles. We all owned more gator shirts than space permitted in our closets. Since that was the only team we rooted for, there was no way we'd attend any other college but UF. More importantly, there was absolutely no chance we would even consider Florida State University. When my sister was a senior, she began to apply for college. Of course, UF was number one on her list. Thankfully, she got in and followed in the same path as my parents.
During the time my sister attended college, I wasn't as big of a fan as the rest of my family; I needed a little bit more convincing. It wasn't until my senior year of high school when I brought along one of my best friends up to Gainesville for a game did I realize that I really did want to go there. I applied and got in. But you don't see my name under the University of Florida, do you? So, what happened? Well, before I had even been accepted, I had been having conversations with my parents about my major. I was really close to majoring in Criminology because that topic is very interesting to me but I didn't have a clear idea of what I would do with that after. After giving it some thought, I settled on Hospitality Management. What many people don't know is that the Dedman School of Hospitality is one of the best majors at FSU. I've been asked why I'm not at the University of Central Florida since that is what they're known for but FSU's program deals more with the management aspect, which is what I wanted, while UCF deals more with the hospitality aspect. I remember asking my mom a few months before UF decisions came out why I was even considering UF if FSU was so clearly the obvious choice. I was at war with myself. Do I follow in the same direction as both my parents and sister or do I follow my own path? After discussing with my parents many times, I finally settled on the college that was best for me, not for my family. I chose FSU and not a single day goes by that I regret it. When making important decisions, it's so easy to just slip into what is comfortable. UF was comfortable. I knew the campus, I knew many friends attending. But sometimes you have to make decisions that make you uncomfortable. I have all new friends, I'm apart of an amazing sorority, and I'm having the time of my life studying exactly what I wanted.
When I attend sporting events, especially football games, it doesn't feel any different. Although, in the beginning, it did feel a little different. This feeling wasn't brought on because I was rooting for the Seminoles. It was because I wasn't attending the game with my family. Going to the games with them had been a family tradition that I suddenly wasn't apart of anymore. Instead, the first game I was surrounded by people I had just met the week before. Then, came the big rivalry game: Florida vs. Florida State. I've attended this game many times at the Ben Hill Griffen Stadium but never at the Doak Campbell Stadium. This time when I sat in the student section, I was with my two friends who I've known since middle school so they knew how weird this game would be for me. And it was. I even accidentally sang along to one of their cheers. But after hearing a UF fan repeatedly shout after every play, frustrating every FSU fan by her, I quickly snapped out of my mood and became a full-fledged FSU fan. I have continued to stay as a proud FSU fan no matter how many of dad's friends make fun of me. I was once a Gator and I will always be a Gator. But now I am a Seminole, and I will also always be a Seminole.