5 Game Day Traditions at Florida State University

5 Game Day Traditions at Florida State University


Florida State football is well known for their game day traditions. As a full-fledged Florida State fan myself, I grew up doing the Tomahawk Chop and listening to the War Chant. Watching Chief Osceola spear the field while riding Renegade last Sunday meant college football was back, baby! In order to start football season off right, here are my favorite, some perhaps lesser-known, Florida State football traditions.

Watch the Skull Session

Two hours before kickoff, music spanning from today’s hits to classic jams can be heard from the Florida State baseball stadium. The Marching Chiefs warm up in front of a small crowd on the Mike Martin Field before every home game. Each section warms up with a different song before they come together. It’s free to watch and is the perfect way to get in the game day mood!

Visit the Sod Cemetery

The Sod Cemetery is my favorite Florida State Football tradition. Next to the Dick Howser Stadium is a small fenced “graveyard” containing soil from other colleges’ football fields. This spooky yet spirited tradition started in 1962. When the football team plays an away game in which they are the underdog, they are only slightly favored, or they are against a big rival, the players rip a chunk of grass and dirt from the field after a victory. The small piece of sod travels back home to Tallahassee to be joyfully buried in the legendary Sod Cemetery. When one of the conquered teams visit Doak Campbell Stadium, the cemetery-keeper lays flowers down on their respective graves. Last week, FSU played Notre Dame. I stopped by to pay my respects to the Sod Cemetery and saw a couple of blue and yellow bouquets on headstones.

Say Hello to Chief Osceola and Renegade

Chief Osceola and Renegade are Florida State’s most beloved mascots! Florida State is closely partnered with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to ensure genuine and respectful presentations of the Seminole culture. To honor the only Native American tribe to never be conquered by the U.S. Government, FSU selects a well-rounded student to represent Chief Osceola at football games. This student wears traditional clothing sewn by the women of the Seminole Tribe. He rides the Appaloosa horse named Renegade on the field during the pregame show. Osceola carries a burning spear while riding around the field, inspiring awe in the stands. The entire stadium shakes as Osceola spears the middle of the field before the game starts. I get chills every single time!

But did you know you can visit them before the pregame starts? Walk around the first floor of the stadium to the north side and you can watch Renegade being prepped for his legendary ride. As a young child, it was so much fun seeing him before he took the field. It felt like I was a part of the FSU tradition.

Take a Picture With the Garnet and Gold Guys

If you see two college guys walking around the stadium covered head to toe in red and yellow glitter, don’t be alarmed. For Florida State, this is completely normal. The Garnet and Gold Guys are a Florida State tradition started in 1998 by the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. If you’re sitting in the student section, make sure to get a picture with them during the game! They stand the entire game at the front of the student section. Keep an eye for them on ESPN as they watch the game; they have the funniest reactions. As a member of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, I have had the honor of befriending several of the Garnet and Gold Guys during the past couple of years. They are incredibly kind! Getting your picture with the Garnet and Gold Guys is a must as an FSU football fan. You might even see them riding to the game on their tandem bicycle. Wave and tell them I said hello!

High Five and Sing the Fight Song With the Players

After a Florida State victory, make your way toward the south end zone. The players pray and jovially congratulate each other after the game. They sing the Fight Song with the fans and give them high-fives over the railing. This is my mom’s favorite tradition! It is a great way to feel connected with the team. If you’re special (or just a super adorable little kid) a player might even give his gloves to you.

Even if you’re not a Florida State fan, I encourage you to partake in these traditions if you’re in town. American football is incredibly unique in how it brings people of all backgrounds together. Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Notre Dame football game (where we almost won). It was my first in-person football game in a long, long time. Doak Campbell Stadium was filled to the top during every quarter. The stadium shook with noise and movement. The feeling of excitement and hope in all the fans was indescribable. The energy in the student section is unparalleled. I’m not necessarily a huge football fan in general, but I love how football brings people together. The adventure at college football games isn’t the game itself: it’s being a small part of something big. These traditions are dear to my heart, and I hope that one day that will be dear to yours, too.

The student section at Doak Campbell Stadium.

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Five Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming College Freshman

Five Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming College Freshman

Welcome to this amazing, stressful, wonderful journey called college! Buckle up for the next four (or more) years.

  1. Don’t buy your textbooks before the first day of class. You won’t need them until the second week at the earliest. And never pay the full price! Check Chegg, Amazon, or your campus bookstore for used or rentable copies. During my previous semester I bought one used textbook. That was it. Some professors will pressure you into buying them – especially if they wrote them. Other professors will be more relaxed, emailing you a (possibly illegal) PDF copy of the textbook. A lot of classes are lecture heavy, so don’t buy the book before you get a feel of the class. Trust me on this one!
  2. Get involved in SOMETHING on campus. This will make or break your college experience. There are plenty of ways to get involved in a campus organization. To find organizations you are interested in, I recommend walking around campus during the week before classes start. A lot of campus organizations and clubs refer to this as “Go Week” or “Welcome Week.” Don’t be nervous – they want you to take interest in their organization! As a student leader of a campus organization myself, my day is totally made when eager freshmen approach me with interest in joining my RSO (registered student organization). I joined the FSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry my first year at Florida State. Now, as a senior, I am the Vice President (where has the time gone?). I met several lifelong friends through BCM (including my roommates of two years and counting!) and have learned so many lessons about life, people, and Christ. If you’re an incoming freshman, I encourage you to get involved with a campus ministry, with Greek life (sororities and fraternities), student government, and other clubs (if you’re an FSU freshman, I’ll link some ways to get connected down below – GO NOLES!).
  3. Prepare yourself for parking on a college campus. Parking for my 11 AM Psychology class was the biggest test of my patience. This is a warning for all freshmen or students new to campus: PARKING IS AWFUL. If you’re living on campus, finding a parking space late at night after having dinner with your friends can be difficult. The designated overnight parking fills up fast. And yes, before you think about parking in that nice, open spot meant for day-time parking, you will get a citation. For students that are living off campus, like I do, I suggest scheduling that dreaded 8 AM class. I know it’s early. Limited parking makes you a morning person. The parking garages are going to be empty and you’ll find a parking spot quickly. I remember driving around Pensacola garage at 10 AM my freshmen year, calling my grandma on the phone and asking her to talk me down a metaphorical cliff. I’m dramatic but looking for parking sucks. There’s no way around it. Prepare yourself.
  4. Join a FIG – a Freshman Interest Group. This is the best decision I made as a college freshman! In order to get into a class I needed, my advisor recommended I join a Freshman Interest Group. A FIG is a one-hour class led by a senior or a graduate student. They give you a run-down of college life and things on campus. Your fellow FIG classmates are in at least two of your other classes, making FIGs a great way to establish friendships and find study groups. Plus, seeing a friendly face three to five times a week makes you feel less alone and more a part of the university. I met some of my best friends in my FIG! Even though we aren’t in the same classes anymore, we still make time to see each other and study.
  5. Work hard to maintain balance in your life. You’re on your own for possibly the first time in your life. Everything is exciting – you’re going out and exploring a new city with your new friends, you made a pact with your roommate to be each other’s maid-of-honor, you accidentally stayed up until 6 AM watching conspiring theory videos with people you just met, you slept through your Tuesday 8AM again, etc. Life is moves faster, the world looks brighter, and everything is yours for the taking. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Your new friends aren’t going to leave you if you decide to stay in. They will most likely join you at the library if you need to study for an upcoming exam. Go out, have fun, but remember to make some time in your busy schedule to reflect on yourself. To sleep. To pray. To eat – this couldn’t be more important. Fight hard to stay in the middle of the college diet spectrum. Eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. Visit your campus counseling services if you need professional guidance or someone to talk to (if you’re an FSU student I will link these down below). They’re here to help you! Participate in campus intramural sports or sign up for a spin class (my personal favorite). Read a book on your campus green (Landis is lovely come October). Call your parents. They miss you. And you miss them, too. Your life at college is going to be amazing and full of adventure. But make sure you stop and take the time to live it.
Check out my WELCOME TO COLLEGE Spotify playlist!

How to Get Connected at Florida State University

I’m praying for you as you start this new adventure! Cherish every moment!

Welcome to Adventures With Em!

Welcome to Adventures With Em!

Hi, I’m Emilee Bryce Perdue. I am a daughter, a writer, and a friend. Like any sane person, I love dogs and Friends and coffee. I prefer sunrises over sunsets. I use too many exclamation points in my emails. I can’t decide whether I can live without ketchup or peanut butter. Please don’t force me to make that decision. Little Women is both my favorite book and movie, respectively (it goes unsaid that I am referencing the 2019 Greta Gerwig adaption). I am earning two bachelor’s degrees not because I am overly studious, but rather because I am overly indecisive.

One of my favorite things to do is ask my friends (and sometimes strangers) very random, very specific questions. I find it helps me get a good idea of who they are. To properly introduce myself to you, I am going to ask myself eight very random, very specific questions.

  1. What is the best place you have ever visited? I believe that each destination I travel to makes its mark on me in some way. I hold each of my travels dear to my heart, but I think the best place I have visited (so far) is Exuma, Bahamas. I went to the island during a spring break trip in high school and I fell in love with it. Exuma had the prettiest waters and the kindest people. Exuma isn’t a tourist resort style island; it is a lush and authentic tropical fairytale. A close second to Exuma would be Chinatown in New York City. Very different but thrilling just the same! I mean, I watched a man light a fake Louis Vuitton bag on fire – and it didn’t burn. I can’t tell you why. I still think about it. Where else can I get this quality of entertainment?
  2. Who is your favorite person? My mom! Annie P is the best person on this planet. She’s my best friend. I tell her anything and everything. She is the most supportive, honest, and caring person I know. She exudes strength and showers me with love every day. Not to say we don’t have our fights, like every mother and daughter, but we always laugh it off and make up within the hour. People have told us we remind them of Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls.
  3. If you could witness one moment in history, what would it be? When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace for standing up for their beliefs. I would give anything to see them not burn, much to everyone else’s disbelief. And to see God in the fire with them? That is such a testament to Christianity! This was my favorite story while I was growing up in church. Even when I read it now, as an adult, I still get chills.
  4. What is your favorite thing about you? I like my nose. I can balance pencils on it.
  5. What is your go-to movie theater snack? When I was twelve years old, my dad taught me how to achieve the perfect movie-theater snack. Order Milk Duds and heavily buttered popcorn. Place a handful of popcorn and a Milk Dud in your mouth and voila! The Milk Dud melts and all you taste is chocolate-y, caramel-y, butter-y goodness. Good for the soul, maybe not so much for the body.
  6. If you could only go to one more concert for the rest of your life, who would you see? Kenny Chesney. Without a doubt. I have an incredibly odd obsession with the country singer, Kenny Chesney. It’s okay because I can admit that it is an incredibly odd and unhealthy obsession. I have seen him in concert twice now and his energy never gets old. “When the Sun Goes Down” was the first song I ever knew by heart. During the hardest time of my life, the only music I had with me was Kenny Chesney’s CD Greatest Hits II. Kenny and I really bonded.
  7. What was your best birthday? It’s a tie between my tenth birthday and my twenty-first birthday. Very different birthdays. For my eighth birthday, my mom hosted a pool party with all of my friends. We had water guns and a cannon-ball contest and a slip-n-slide. It was ten-year-old heaven. Some close family friends bought me my first diving tank (hot pink, of course) and my mom made a life-sized beach ball cake. It was amazing. For my twenty-first, we threw like three separate parties (or at least it felt like it!). On the night of my birthday my best friends threw me a surprise picnic at Cascades Park, in Tallahassee, Florida. It was straight from Pinterest. They even blindfolded me on the drive over (now that wasn’t especially enjoyable, but the selfie we took was worth the confusion.). I had never experienced so many people wanting to truly celebrate me and show their love for me. I’m so grateful for them.  
  8. What is the last life-changing book you read? Ah, life-changing? For an avid reader like me, it’s hard to pin down the last life-changing book I read. Some novels that have stuck around my subconscious lately are Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid), People We Meet on Vacation (Emily Henry), Circe (Madeline Miller), Normal People (Sally Rooney), Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng), and Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens). But if I had to choose one, I would say The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green has refreshed my outlook on life. Green writes several essays – or reviews – on humanity. He starts with random, pointless facts that will rattle in my brain forever and turns them into poetic and heartfelt lessons, all in a way only Green could manage. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who feels like the world has turned into a dark and ugly place, especially in the past two years. This book doesn’t change that, but it does make the good things shine a little brighter.

I understand that this “Introduction to Me” article might have been one of the most chaotic things you have ever read.  If you liked it despite the chaos, good. If you didn’t, even better. I think these little facts about people give a better look at the bigger picture of who they are. As if these seemingly meaningless questions are little pieces in the mosaic that is me.

And the best thing is this: if you ask me these same questions in a couple of months, in a year, in a decade, the answers will most likely change. People are constantly changing, constantly reacting to their lives, and constantly shaping themselves to match what they have learned. It’s beautiful. It’s multifaceted, it’s freeing, and it’s beautiful.

I’m writing this as a somewhat fresh twenty-one-year-old. I have more freckles this summer than I did the last. I have read more books and spent more hours scrolling on Tik-Tok. I’ve lost friends in the past year, but I have also gained some of the highest caliber. I have sipped the most delicious coffee and seen the most beautiful rainbows. I’ve laughed more than I ever have, and I have also cried more, too.

I feel more myself today than I ever have.

And I hope that when I revisit this article, I can say the same.

I can’t wait to share my adventures, both big and small, with you all. Thank you for taking a chance on Adventures With Em. Let’s go see more of the world, together!