Don't Blame Me; I've Got Senioritis PDF Print E-mail
By Jason Lawrence -- Black College Wire   
A couple of weeks ago, I finally saw my "candidate for graduation" hold on iRattler, FAMU’s online-record system, requiring me to complete the new graduation process.

Once the excitement of posting a picture of the hold to my Facebook died, then humility took over. I knew I had survived a four-and-a-half year trek through the jungle we call Florida A&M.

Looking at the university's graduation rate , it's clear that a timely matriculation at FAMU can be compared to the evolutionary theory of "survival of the fittest."
The Famuan
Jason Lawrence
FAMU's four-year graduation rate is 12.49 percent; 31.08 percent of students who are retained graduate in five years, and 39.92 percent graduate in six years.

And, yes, there are a few brave souls who can stomach spending more than six years surrounded by pretentious and ironically materialistic young adults. The eight-year graduation rate is also about 40 percent.

Again, these rates are for those who came to FAMU as first-year freshmen and stayed until and throughout their fourth-year and beyond. The proportion of first-year freshmen who stay until their fourth-year is about 64 percent… not bad.

I've crafted a bit of evolutionary pseudo-science to explain our perceptually low graduation and retention rates.

When the typical FAMU freshman, taxonomically referred to as "fresheus meatus," hatches from its shell of parental protection and arbitrary high school traditions, he or she is forced to survive on a campus where several predatory species roam.

The first predator “freshius meatus” will encounter happens to be one of the lowly predators on campus, the party promoter, taxonomically identified as “homo-aggravatus.”

Party promoters will use their natural aggravating instinct of cheaply crafted event fliers and an insistence that you take one and consider attending (as if studying isn't more important).

The freshmen are instinctively behooved to cross the street when they see these predators, usually males. Otherwise they are doomed to develop into the dreaded, weaker subspecies "homo here-foreverus," better known as the student who never leaves.

If freshmen are able to avoid the party promoter, then they will find time to venture to Foote-Hilyer, the administration building, to turn in their financial aid paperwork to a financial aid counselors, taxonomically designated as "homo perplexus-discombobulus."

They are classified as such for their unique ability to lie to students with a straight-face. They are further distinguished by their ornery dispositions and tendency to ruin lives.

“Freshius meatus” must follow their instructions carefully at the beginning of each semester, or again, they risk developing into the feeble-minded irresponsible student.

By successfully conquering the predators in Foote-Hilyer, the freshman can now venture into an open campus only to be met by larger more experienced students, who are identified with a number of student sub-species.

The first of these student subspecies, of which freshmen must escape becoming prey, are the SGA members, or "homo deceitus."

SGA members are very likely to develop into money-grubbing turncoats, known in society as politicians. They appear to be both phenotypically and genotypically attractive. But freshmen shan't be fooled. For under their suits, polo shirts, name-tags, catchy introductions and perceptually high GPAs, they are really just robots trained to take orders from themselves.

The second student sub-species to avoid would be the Greeks, or "homo-lameus." Upon hatching from their shells, this species begins life at FAMU as students who just want to fit in, or "homo desparatus." Once they are granted their perceived brother- or sisterhood at a toll, they sometimes develop into another student subspecies, "homo here-foreverus."

By avoiding pointless group associations, freshmen save money and reduce the risk of becoming a campus fixture.

The task of surviving on the Hill and graduating in four years is not a difficult one. But freshmen must gain the ability to avert the predators roaming FAMU's campus.

If freshmen are successful in fighting off these predators for three more years in their habitat, it will develop into the strongest subspecies of them all, "homo indifferentus."

After four years of fighting for survival, "homo indifferentus" is ready to graduate. Their instincts are to "not-give-a-crap" about anything or anyone they encounter on campus.

Jason Lawrence writes for The Famuan, the Florida A&M University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Articles in the Voices section reflect the opinions of the individual writers and do not represent the views of Black College Wire.

Posted Nov. 22, 2011
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