The college transition can, and will, be a hectic one. Don’t feel alone in this process. Thousands have gone before you, thousands are with you, and thousands will follow. No matter if you’ve lived in town your whole life or you moved from hundreds of miles away, there will always be a few tricks that you may not have known. Here are 10 hacks to make your life at UF easier.
1. Bring an umbrella.
There’s a reason why people nickname Gainesville, “Rainesville.” To ensure you don’t get soaked in a random Florida shower, keep an umbrella with you at all times. The last thing you want is to trek across campus for class in the pouring rain. Wet clothes and papers aren’t cute.
2. Be familiar with bus routes.
When you receive your schedule, get apps like Trasloc, Rider, and Gatorsafe. From there you can check in real time where buses are and plan your route. If you’re lucky, there will be a bus you can take to cut your travel time in half- and that’s something to celebrate.
3. Use SNAP and Later Gator at night.
If you have late classes, use SNAP (Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol), UF’s free late night transportation service, or Later Gator buses. Stay safe, and if you don’t have a buddy or two to walk with then keep these services in mind. These routes can be found on the apps mentioned previously and on TapRide.
4. Go to your professor’s office hours.
During your time at UF, you’re bound to take an online course. If you do, it is imperative that you go to office hours and get to know your professors. While talking to a professor you only see online can be intimidating, especially early on, it will aid you later on when it is time for big exams or projects – you’ll want to be comfortable asking questions so you can do your best. Making an effort to form a more personal connection with your teachers may also pay off (literally) in a few years when you’re looking for letters of recommendation for graduate school or even jobs.
5. Don’t pay for printing.
Don’t bother bringing a printer with you to college- you probably won’t ever use it. Student Government sponsors a printing lab that allows you 250 pages of free printing per semester in the Reitz Union. This saves you time, money, and space in your already filled dorm room. Also, did I mention it was free?
6. Go to GatorNights!
Every Friday night, GatorNights are held in the Reitz Union. These events are created to bring the campus together through movies, games, comedians, bands, and even arts and crafts. If you don’t have anything to do on your Friday night, pop in and at least get some free food. Just make sure you bring your Gator 1 and activity card because those are your tickets in the party!
7. Be smart about textbooks.
Don’t be that person who buys all their textbooks brand new. Look online for deals on renting textbooks or buying used ones. Hundreds of students took the class before you and have old books that they want to get off their hands. Renting also eliminates the hassle of trying to resell your books later. You’re only going to use this book for half a year, so just make sure it’s in good condition.
8. Download student software.
One of the perks of college life is having a college email address, which can get you a lot of free software. You can download Microsoft Office, virus protection, and others for free. Some of the other services on the list are heavily discounted, such as Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.). Make sure to check out this link here to see the full list!
9. Keep your phone and computer chargers in your backpack.
Most college students are always on their phone or computer- you’re even on one now reading this! Because of that love of technology, our batteries usually can’t keep up with us. Keep a charging cable and plug on you at all times, because you never know when you’ll go into the red. Lounge areas have charging stations and wall outlets can be found at most food stops. Just in case, bring a portable charger with you for bus rides or in class emergencies.
10. Get involved!
It’s important to find your own little niche on campus! In a school as big as UF, it’s easy to feel a little lost. Look for clubs and intramurals that interest you, and form relationships with those people!