This blog entry is about Clemson University but it could be about any school at any level. I just happen to associate this with Clemson.
There are two types of people that occupy the Clemson University Campus as either students or employees. One section of people are AT Clemson. The other section of people are FROM Clemson. While that may sound easy enough to identify it really isn’t.
Those that are AT Clemson are students or employees that have never graduated Clemson University. That is most of the Undergraduate Classes, most of the Graduate Classes, and most of the faculty and staff that work here. These people are from somewhere else and are here because they either want to be or have to be. The other classification on campus are those that are graduates of Clemson and are therefore FROM Clemson. They have invested time and money to pursue a degree and they may or may not show that in many ways.
Before you think that this is an elitist view of us and them there are also two classifications of AT and FROM. You are either ‘Clemson’ or you are not ‘Clemson’. This is where the pride and rabid dedication to Clemson is ultimately shown. If you are ‘Clemson’, and most of you will know who you are, then you wear Orange at any chance, know every word and note of the Tiger songs, sing whenever you can the School song, and know the history of why we are purple and orange and what is the significance of the hook in the paw.
You don’t have to be a graduate of Clemson to be like this and unfortunately some are FROM Clemson and never acquired the ‘I bleed Orange’ philosophy. There are also people who no matter how much Orange they wear or what they say about Clemson they will never be ‘Clemson’. To them it’s a costume they are wearing and it rings hollow to those that know and care about the difference.
So why does this matter? In the long run it really doesn’t a whole lot. I spent 34 years trying to get to Clemson. When I became the Branch Head of the Architecture Library I was AT Clemson, and even though I wore very little Orange compared to others in the Library, I considered myself ‘Clemson.’ Now I am an alumnus of Clemson after 3+ years of Graduate School and I still don’t own a lot of Orange. However I am FROM Clemson and will always be ‘Clemson’.
We all want to be FROM somewhere. We are always AT somewhere. We also want to belong to something so we don’t feel alone. Clemson is just one of a million ATs and FROMs in the world. I’m just glad, and quite lucky, that I have had the chance to be both FROM and Clemson.