All credit for photography belongs to FSU’s own Anthony Young.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was able to visit Florida State University and my old
stomping swing dance grounds. And I am so glad that after all the hemming and hawing, I was able to find a cheap ticket (thanks to Jet Blue) and visit my old scene for this year’s Floor Divided. (It didn’t hurt that Steven and Virginie were the featured teachers either. *wink*)
I knew it was going to feel different, being back on a campus I had spent four years on, so I wasn’t surprised when I all I could think of was how small it felt. (To be fair, I was probably unconsciously comparing it to New York City, which makes everything look small in comparison.)
The event itself was amazing and I just glowed with pride over everyone involved. (Many of them had worked for me in the first Floor Divided and previous Seminole Stomps. (Which, by the way, I hear they’re bringing it back again next year. And they’re putting birds on things? Yeah. I don’t get it either.) Okay, enough with the plugs, back to the blog.) It was clear they put a lot of work into the event, and it was amazing to attend their event.
I cannot tell you how much it meant to me. Many of these individuals I had not seen since I graduated in early May and here they were, more accomplished, more sure of themselves. I always say that my proudest accomplishment was what I had been able to do in FSU’s Swing Dance Club, but it was never truer than when I saw my old students happy and dancing and having an amazing time. (Because really, isn’t that what Lindy Hop is all about?)
But like most nostalgia, I was also made to see how much I had changed in the few short months I had been away. I definitely wasn’t the same person that had been president for three years, nor was anyone else the same. I had grown as a person and as a dancer and clearly no longer had a place at FSU.
Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t feel welcome. On the contrary, all of the hugs and smiles made me feel more at home than I had felt in a very, very long time. My one regret was I had so little time to spend.
Probably the thing that I am most thankful for was the time I got to spend with Ellie, my best friend for the majority of my college career. I mentioned to her that on the whole, I’m glad I had left Tallahassee when I did, even though I missed everyone so much it hurt sometimes. And she agreed wholeheartedly. She pointed out how I probably wouldn’t have been able to stay away.
And she was right. As much as I missed everyone, I couldn’t help but see how much the club had grown after I left. And it would have never gotten to this point if I had stayed.
Nor would I have started on my larger journey as my own person and dancer.
I love with New York City. I love being my own independent woman. I love working and having an apartment. And I love the dancing here.
My mom always told me that college would be the best years of my life.
And while I loved and still love FSU, I couldn’t help but answer how sad it would be to peak at 22.
And I’m so glad I was right.
I am so thankful for my time at Florida State. But it’s clear we’ve all grown and have started forging our own paths. The club that I spent three years applying all my blood, sweat and tears is flourishing under new ownership.
And while I have left and am finding my place in this life after college, it’s good to know that I can always go back and visit.