Finding My Family At JSU Was Way Easier Than I Imagined

Finding My Family At JSU Was Way Easier Than I Imagined

Sometimes the people we need most are the ones we least expect.


In the summer of 2018, I became a freshman at Jacksonville State University. Since I grew up in Jacksonville, AL I had been planning my college career to take place right in my hometown. Therefore I truly believed that finding a close net 'family' or just a support system, in general, could only be provided by joining a sorority, the student government association, or being a southerner. Which I, personally, did not have the appeal for any one of these.

As the semester grew closer my father, who was an advisor for the Student Alumni Association, asked if I could work their booth for them at summer orientation. I knew from the beginning of my freshman year that I would be a member of SAA, it was just a question on if I would fit in. I volunteered for 9/10 of these orientations and, although I had only met one member during them I already got closer and closer to the group.

Our first meeting was called "Taco Tuesday", where we cooked tacos and got to sit around and talk to each other. This is where I became very close to my current best friend Victoria Clements. We had met several times on different occasions, however, the Student Alumni Association brought us closer together and I will always be grateful for that.

The further on we had different meetings, new icebreakers, and new conversations with people I never knew I would be so connected with. Soon the semester continued to our "ambassador interviews", a 3-day process to select an elite group to represent Jacksonville State University's Alumni Association.

During this process, we had a night dedicated to 'group interviews'. This was where all pre-selected ambassadors and auditioning ambassadors meet to play different strategy games and bond together. After this event, the whole ambassador group, old and new, became much closer and more dedicated to each other.

My point in saying all this is that no one knows where and who the future might take us. Some of the best people I know I met due to SAA, there are more options for people that want a close net family that doesn't want to be in greek life.

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39 Things To Do With Your Best Friend At Least Once

A best friend is someone to make the most of every moment and share this crazy life with.

Best friend: someone you know even better than you know yourself, the first one you think of when making plans, and the one you call when you need someone to talk to. Your biggest fan, go-to person, shoulder to cry on, and the one you never, ever get tired of.

A best friend is someone to make the most of every moment and share this crazy life with. Here are 39 ways to do just that:

1. Own matching onesies.

And wear them together with pride.

2. Have a professional best friend photo shoot.

3. Go on a vacation together.

Going to the beach? So much fun. Going to the beach with your best friend? Even better; the most fun.

4. Spend an entire day together watching old Disney movies.

Because throwbacks and lazy days are good for the soul.

5. Go to Build-a-Bear and make matching stuffed animals.

Because this place definitely shouldn't be just for kids, it's way too much fun.

6. Spend National Best Friends day together.

7. Have a shared Pinterest board.

Use it to pin anything and everything to do with your friendship. Things that you know will make them happy, food to try to cook together, inspirational quotes for each other, and more.

8. Volunteer together.

Especially if you share a passion; animals, children, taking care of the earth. Whatever it is, take the time to give back together. It's worth it.

9. Work together.

This would make working anywhere so much more bearable.

10. Go on an epic road trip.

Roll those windows down, blast your favorite songs, sing obnoxiously loud at the top of your lungs together, eat lots of junk food, have some deep conversations, and just drive.

11. Have a super long secret handshake.

You know, like the one from the Parent Trap. Except even better.

12. Explore a new city together.

Never been to New York City? Who better to discover it with than your bestie.

13. Binge Watch an entire TV series.

Or two or three... :)

14. Travel abroad together.

15. Go to a concert.

16. Learn a new skill, or start a new hobby together.

17. Take pictures in a photo booth.

Because there's nothing like paying $5 for pictures that you could take limitlessly on your phone just because they're formatted in a cute way. So worth it.

18. Live in an apartment together.

19. Make playlists of your favorite songs for each other.

There's very few ways to truly get to someone better than listening closely to the lyrics of all of their favorite songs. And of course you should also have endless dance parties to them as well.

20. Take 100 polaroid pictures together.

21. Buy matching best friend jewelry.

22. Spend an entire week together without getting tired of each other.

This is the true test of your friendship.

23. Play hide and seek in Ikea.

Because why not?

24. Come up with ridiculous nicknames for each other.

Using these is of course only a best friend privilege.

25. Do a color run together.

Or you could just walk. Yeah, do a color walk together.

26. Go on a double date.

Or set each other up on blind dates.

27. Go on lots of best friend dates.

These are the best kind because you know they're not going to break your heart in the end. I mean, some people probably think you're a couple already anyway.

28. Throw surprise parties for each other.

Because nothing is better than seeing the look on someone's face when all of their people are unexpectedly gathered in one place to celebrate them. And only your best friend knows exactly who (and who not) to invite.

29. Go camping.

30. Bury a time capsule.

And open it together when you're old and grumpy, and reminisce about the good old days.

31. Do something crazy or adventurous; face your fears together.

Steal a street sign, go skydiving, pull an prank on someone... Whatever it may be, just do it together and have a blast.

32. Get matching tattoos.

33. Visit Disney World together.

34. Go Black Friday shopping together.

Who better to face the madness with? Also, who can turn down good deals and a shopping spree with their bestie? Not me.

35. Write letters to each to each other and open them in 10 years.

36. Adopt twin puppies.

And give them coordinated names. You already know they'll be too cute to handle.

37. Be the maid of honor at each other's wedding.

And of course tell all those embarrassing stories you've been saving in your speech.

38. Have your kids be best friends too.

39. Grow old together.

And truly be best friends forever.

This one's for my best friend. Can't wait to take on the life with you, and do all these things and more. Let's do this ❤️

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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22 Reasons Why I Chose To Be Part Of FGCU '22

I can say deciding to go to FGCU was the best decision I've made.


I grew up in Jackson, New Jersey. However, since the age of nine, I would spend every summer and holiday down in Cape Coral, Florida. My parents got a divorce when I was 8, and wound up being 1,200 miles apart. My dad heard about Florida Gulf Coast University from family and was admit about me taking a tour. I wasn't overly excited about touring the school, but I thought what was the worst that could happen?

1. My Campus Tour

If you told me three years ago that I would be attending a college in Florida, I would have told you that you're out of your mind. I was set on going to a college in New Jersey; I had a few in mind going into my junior year and was planning on scheduling tours at them — until I found FGCU. I guess you could say it was love at first sight.

I remember walking into the Welcome Center and immediately being greeted by the staff. They were filled with such enthusiasm, which was genuine. They wanted to make sure that each and every student felt like they were at home. I didn't feel like I was at a college tour- I felt like I arrived home.

I fell so in love with the campus, that as soon as I got home from my tour, I started figuring out what exactly I needed so that I could apply as soon as the applications opened.

I highly recommend for any and every student looking at attending a college, to go to a tour at this school. It's just something about being on that campus that will make you never want to leave.

2. Career and Developement Services

In college, many students change their major throughout their years at college. Luckily FGCU has a team dedicated to helping you figure out what you want to do as a career, and what the steps are to pursue it. They host career fairs, and provide you with help in getting an internship and/or job! They provide individual advising sessions, to help you to the best of their ability

3. The Dorms Are Big, Like REALLY Big

So the dorms are big. FGCU is known for having spacious dorms, but really no words could describe just how amazing they are. You could easily fit an elephant in there. FGCU is ranked in the top 10 best college dorms in the entire United States. You don't have to share a bedroom with another person, you get your own personal space.

4. FGCU Is Anti-Hazing

Fraternities and sororities exist all over the country. Many times there are horror stories about the hazing, that goes into becoming a member. Luckily at FGCU that is not a concern. They have a zero tolerance for hazing, and under no circumstances is it permitted. To even register to potentially be in a sorority you must complete an anti-hazing course online and pass a test on it. They have resources in place as long as a team ready to investigate any allegations of it.

5. The Dirty Birds

The Dirty Birds are the official fan section for all sports at FGCU. It is a $10 membership fee and it provides you with experiences year round! They offer Dirty Bird members opportunities such as seating directly behind the team and traveling to state competitions on a bus provided for you! After the games the teams also thank the Dirty Birds for coming, the amount of school spirit this school has is insane.

6. The Shuttle System

Although not too far of a walk from the dorms to the classrooms, there is no need to walk. The school provides a free shuttle service that runs EVERY 15 minutes! They pull up in front of Palmetto and travel to the music building and also the Cohen loop.

7. The Beach

In North Lake, which is primarily an upperclassmen living area, is FGCU's own little beach. The beach is beautiful and a great place to go to relieve stress. At the beach, you can relax in a beach chair, or check out the rentals that they have available.


On campus, there is counseling and psychological services, which is a source of mental health support. They offer walk in and weekly meetings, completely free. Many students utilize this resource, and I would encourage more too.

9. The Sovi Pool

In South Village, a giant pool is located right in the heart of the buildings. It's a great place to go sit and get a tan.

10. The Greek Life

FGCU has four different organizations. Panhellenic, IFC, NPHC and MGC. If you have an interest in joining Greek life, FGCU has many opportunities as each organization has a number of different fraternities/ sororities to join.

11. FGCU has Chick Fil A

The best part of my day is walking into the Cohen center and seeing Chick-fil-A. It's super convenient and they are always on top of their game in there.

12. The Amount of Organizations 

There is a registered student organization for everything. During my orientation, I was told that they just created a "People-Watching" club. The best part is, if they don't have an organization you want, you have to reach a minimum of three people and one adviser, and then you've made an RSO ( Registered Student Organization).

13. The Library

The library is beautiful. They have study rooms, cubes, and individual seating areas. It's a great place to go to study or print out anything you need to print. It's open

14. The Amount of Students

There are only around 15,000 students at FGCU, it's the perfect amount. It's not too small, but also not too big. It's the perfect fit.

15. Intramural Sports

Intramural sports are essentially like a "club team," where you play against other students in whatever category you chose to participate in. Even if you don't participate you can still head over and watch the games.

16. FGCU Has Area Council

Area council exists within the halls and buildings that residents reside in on campus. The council is made up of an executive board, as well as an advisor and delegates. They create events that their "building" has and address any issues or concerns that the other residents may have. It's a great structure and allows residents to have their voice heard, and make a change.

17. The Free Online Movies

When you live in South Village or North Lake, you are able to access the free online movies that FGCU has to offer. They update and add new ones every month. There are also TV shows on there! To access the website (only works if you live on campus ) press here.

18. Azul The Eagle

Azul is FGCU's mascot. You can find him at every event on campus. Azul is full of life and can be found dancing or pumping up the crowd.

19. The Bookstore

If you need anything, the bookstore will have it. They have a huge apparel section, as well as snacks, and school supplies.

20. The Job Opportunities

If you need a job you can check E-rez and see if there's anything fitting for you! I have friends who work all over campus, the campus is flexible and works around your schedule.

21. The Overall Aura

When you step on campus, the sun shines. Your whole mood just flips. The air is fresh, the birds are chirping, and people are swinging in their hammocks. FGCU just feels like a home. The campus is stunning and a positive place to be.

22. There Will Always Be Something To Do

There is always something to do at FGCU, the opportunities are endless. Every day there's campus rec classes, or student organized meetings. There's something for everyone here.

If you haven't toured FGCU, I challenge you to. Forget any ideas you had about the school before coming in, and see it for yourself. I can say that becoming a part of FGCU '22 was the best choice I have made. I couldn't see myself going to school anywhere else.

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