Going to the best school in the state of Florida can make you sometimes way in over your head. Freshman year is bound to be filled with mistakes, but you’ll learn from them! As a University of Florida freshman, here are the twenty best tips to help you survive your freshman year.
1. Trusting everything your Preview advisor says because you’re just a clueless freshman is a bad idea, I promise.
Yes, you can still use those dual enrollment math credits from community college regardless of what your Preview advisor says. Not everything they say will be entirely useful. “I trusted my preview advisor when it came to gen ed requirements, but she wasn’t entirely correct on what I had to take. Now I have to take Art Appreciation my senior year for a credit I thought I earned in my first semester of school.” – Bella, Class of 2018
2. Random roommates? No thanks.
A slim amount of people get good random roommates that they will enjoy. “Choosing a random roommate was my biggest mistake because she is absolutely disgusting and inconsiderate.” – Casey, Class of 2020
3. Unless you live in a Broward single all alone, you are going to upset your roommate.
Even if you’re roommate is not random, you still might run into a bit of trouble. Whether she ruined your favorite dress or you’re sick of his girlfriend always hanging out in your room, there’s inevitably no way to avoid upsetting your roommate at least once. To make it easier for yourself, set some boundaries between the two of you in order to make fights stay at a minimum level.
4. Don’t even think about those morning classes.
Let’s be honest: you may have been able to pull off 8am classes in high school, but it takes a special kind of crazy at UF to attend any class before 9:30. If it’s the only class you can fit into your schedule, that’s totally cool, but just be aware that you will attend only about a third of those classes (and if that class has attendance-based grades, just kiss those thoughts goodbye).
5. Norman Hall isn’t actually in Gainesville anymore.
There are a few halls you should avoid having classes in, especially if you have to run to other classes back to back. Norman Hall is one of these buildings, located on the OTHER side of 13th Street. Another one is Classroom Building 105, near Chipotle and the Dunkin’ Donuts. That walk is long and painful. Another great example is trying to walk to the Physics Building on Museum.
6. The Gainesville RTS is a deeply flawed system.
“My friends and I were going to a dance party and wanted glow sticks. All my friends had classes until six that night except for me, so I decided I would travel to the Dollar General on 13th to get glow sticks for us. I took a bus there and hopped on the same bus when I was done shopping, but I didn’t see that it was the final trip of the night and it wasn’t going back to campus where I lived. It took me all the way to the edge of Gainesville before the bus driver told me to get off. My phone was dead and I couldn’t find another way to get home, so I walked the two and a half miles back to campus. I made it back in time for the party, though, so that’s all that counts.” –Hannah, UF Class of 2020
7. Dorm Hall Safety #101: Always Lock Your Door!
Dorm halls at UF can get super crazy and weird, especially if you don’t lock your doors at night. “My biggest mistake freshman year was not locking the door of my bedroom at Lakeside. One night one of my drunk roommate opened my door, came inside, pulled her pants down, and almost peed on my floor.” – Alex, Class of 2018
8. Gator Nights are a great way to meet new people.
Part of your first year of college is getting to know as many people as you possibly can, but some people feel as if they didn’t get to meet as many people as they could have. Gator Nights is a free event put on by the students for the students, and you get to meet awesome people in line for fun games and free food.
9. Drinking in college: know your limits.
Many students before coming to college have never had alcohol before in their lives and handle the situation irresponsibly when drinking, especially before the UF tailgates over on Frat Row. If you must drink illegally, make sure you practice safe drinking habits. “Before coming to college, I didn’t drink because I never had the opportunity in high school. So going to UF and living right by Frat Row, I went out a lot. I didn’t know my limits and one of my nights I drank too much and lost my virginity.” –Anonymous Student, Class of 2017
10. Scheduling your trips around your schoolwork.
Raise your hand if you had your first weekend getaway to home to see your family all planned out, except you hadn’t left any time in your day to work on your schoolwork! *Raises hand* This is a sure way to fail, and every UF student does this at least once. “I went away for a weekend even though I probably should have worked on my essay. The essay got finished but it was just a stressful week I wouldn’t want to relive.” –Anonymous Student, Class of 2020
11. College ≠ High School
All University of Florida freshman think that they can study for classes in college the same way they studied in high school because, hey, we got into the University of Florida, so we must be doing something right! Sadly, you’re dead wrong if you think this way. “I made the major mistake of thinking college would be similar to AP classes in high school so I started off with a lot of credit hours. I thought the same way I did work in high school would apply but I wasn’t doing as well that way.” – Adrina, Class of 2020
12. They serve food at Broward Dining? The reality of the meal plan.
Most UF students don’t have morning classes (see #3) so they are rarely awake during the breakfast hours at the dining halls. Even then, most students buy meal plans and don’t use them enough to get their money’s worth. “I RARELY go to the dining halls and I’m not even awake during the breakfast swipe elsewhere. Spent so much money on food that I don’t eat.” –Shannon, Class of 2020
13. You might be drowning in clubs and events if…
As UF students, we also tend to go overboard on the extracurriculars. Make sure not to get involved in too many things that might affect your grades or health. “Took on too many responsibilities this semester. Doing a cappella, a leadership group, and organizing an event in Spring. Would tell younger me (from 4 months ago) to chill out just a little bit.” –Christian, Class of 2020
14. Why didn’t you buy football season tickets?
UF students must buy all home games in a package in order to attend home games or sell those tickets to others. A lot of people then end up selling tickets for the games they can’t go to for at twice or three times the real price of the ticket. “I regret not buying football season tickets since I have to buy my tickets from rando’s who can charge whatever they want.”- Hannah Noel, Class of 2020
15. You Go to UF? How many miles do you walk in a day?
“I did not bring any comfortable shoes when I came to Gainesville because I did not realize how much walking I would be doing on such a large campus! I still have bad blisters on my feet from wearing uncomfortable shoes all the time. Sneakers may not look that great, but neither do blisters.” – Serena, Class of 2020
16. Not following the UF dorm rules.
Bad things happen when you don’t clean the oven before the next person uses it. “I have an oven in my dorm room and I decided to make a frozen pizza. I think there was plastic or something in the oven because I set off the smoke detector, and then when I left the room to go get my RA, I locked myself out.” –Sam, Class of 2020
17. Don’t risk it, just drop the class.
Us UF students are serious overachievers, and can’t stand it when we aren’t doing super well in school. When your grade is in a bad spot, the drop/add deadline is looming dangerously over your head, and you don’t know if you’ll be able to pull off a passing grade, it’s better to drop the class and start over than risk your GPA. “I didn’t keep up with Calculus 2 and didn’t withdraw by the date, so I didn’t go home over thanksgiving and instead have been studying like crazy. I rewatched all THIRTEEN hours of lecture videos that pertain to this upcoming exam and I’ve done five practice exams.” Anonymous Student, Class of 2020
18. Take advantage of all that UF has to offer.
UF has to offer so much to students, from study areas to emotional counseling to academic advising. Many freshmen fail to take advantage of what the school offers, and end up failing because they don’t use what has been offered to them.
19. WARNING: You may get lost.
Getting lost on campus is a big issue for a lot of freshman, especially during your first semester. A few steps to not get lost is to map out your day beforehand, find out where you r classes are before the semester starts, and try really hard to stay away from any areas you aren’t familiar with without a friend with you.
20. Not being able to find Jamba Juice.
“First day on campus my friend and I walked back and forth from the Hub and the Reitz looking for the Jamba Juice. After asking multiple people we were about to give up until someone told us it was on the opposite side of the Hub! Finally walking up to the door excited to get my Jamba Juice on and it had closed 7 minutes earlier….we had been looking for it for close to 45 minutes!” – Katie, Class of 2020
What have you learned so far as a Florida University freshman? Comment below and share the article!
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