"Lover of ballet, traveling, and chocolate and devoted Barnes and…
I SAID IT’S GREAT…TO BE…A (confused and emotionally unstable) BABY GATOR!
Orientation is where you will learn how to pick your classes, rethink your major 20 times, and fall in love with the University of Florida (if you haven’t already). It can be a pretty insane 2 days, so here are 10 things I wish I had known before Preview!
1. Start thinking about your major and any incoming credits you might have.
Not the most exciting topic, but the definitely the most important.
Many of my friends did not have a clue as to what they wanted to major in. While this is totally OK, it’s important to know that you will be expected to declare a major at Preview. There is an exploratory option available, but if you are able to decide on a major and begin earning the specific credits you need, it will allow you to jump right into your degree.
A part of the Preview Prep that you will be required to take will give your Preview Staffers some info about your possible incoming credits. I received a printout of my predicted course credits, but I suggest making a list for yourself before arriving for Preview. Write down all the IB/AP/Dual Enrollment that you took in high school and guess a score for yourself. It’s fine if it is not exact for now, but it will give you a good starting point to pick your next classes. You can go ahead and look up UF course equivalents for the classes you took so that you can estimate how many credits you could potentially have going in.
This is also beneficial as it will allow you to begin familiarizing yourself with the look of course requirements and equivalencies, and will making picking classes a lot easier for you during Preview!
2. Get ready to CHOMP!!!
If you are one of those people who is not really into school spirit, brace yourself. At the University of Florida, everyone loves to be a Gator, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Gone are the days when you would stand awkwardly in the high school gymnasium, “too cool” to cheer for your team.
You are now a part of the Gator Nation; a group of people who are very enthusiastic to show their love for their school. Preview Staffers will sing, dance, and teach you how to chomp. You will learn that “It’s GREAT! To BE! A FLORIDA GATOR”. So just embrace the high energy. It may take some getting used to, but once school starts I promise you will be so ready to join the crazy cheering fans wearing orange and blue.
3. Wear comfortable shoes!!!
I cannot stress this enough. I know that you think this is the perfect time to rock your new shoes in order to make a good first-impression, but your sneakers are your friend. My black Keds were a lifesaver since the roads were kinda wet from the frequent summer rains. Most of the walking was done on the 2nd day, when they took us on a tour of the UF campus (the tour was almost the same as the tour you might have already taken with your family when you were applying to UF). Bottom line; no one is going to remember if you wore sandals or sneakers, but they WILL remember the girl who was limping around for 2 days.
4. You will (probably) never see the people from your Preview session again.
This is something I wish someone would have told me prior to me freaking out about what I would wear or say at Preview. This thought might have already crossed your mind, but everyone there is just as nervous as you are. You will undoubtedly exchange phone numbers and names with other people at Preview, but don’t get too caught up on making lifelong friendships in two days. You WILL make friends at UF, many of them lifelong, but if you don’t meet anyone incredibly compatible at Preview, don’t fret. Remember, there are thousands of students who attended other Preview sessions that you haven’t even met yet! Just enjoy the small talk and the 4 commonly repeated questions:
- “What’s your name?”
- “Where are you from?”
- “What’s your major?”
- “Where are you living in the Fall?”
5. THE DORMS ARE COLD!!!!
Not sure if this will always be the case, but for the Summer when I went, my dorm room was freezing! I was not at all ready and ended up shivering most of the night. The air conditioning unit is really high up on the wall, and if your bed is not lofted all the way up it can be hard to reach. My roommate and I fumbled with the dials, but the room stayed frigid. I know the list says to bring bed sheets, but I suggest bringing a sleeping bag. That way you won’t have to worry about folding your sheets in the morning, and you will be warmer if the dorms turn out to be frigid.
6. Keep those free water bottles and refill them every chance you get!
Walking around all day can get tiring, so don’t forget to stay hydrated. They give you free water bottles that you can refill at stations during the day, so don’t forget to replenish your body. These bottles are also super fun to use as you complete your many dorm shopping trips once you get home.
7. Don’t forget shower shoes and shampoo!
I was guilty of this. For some reason, my mind didn’t process the fact that I would be spending the night in a dorm with a communal bathroom, and I forgot shower shoes AND shampoo. My roommate for the night let me use some of her shampoo, but I ended up showering in my sandals. NOT fun.
8. Take advantage of your knowledgeable Preview Staffers.
The students who work as Preview Staffers are absolutely incredible. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet and bond with your Staffer, as they will be there for you long after Preview ends. My staffer offered to meet up with my group during the first week of classes for a Krishna lunch, and constantly posted super helpful reminders in our Facebook group. If you are unsure of what classes to take or are still not set on a major, talk to the Staffers. They will be there to assist you in any way they can.
9. DON’T sleep in on the morning of Day 2!
Take this one from the girl who missed breakfast and her desperately-needed coffee. Breakfast the morning of Day 2 is only served until a certain time, so make sure to read your daily schedule for Day 2 the night before to ensure you get a bite to eat. You’ll regret it later when you are walking around campus on an empty stomach.
10. Take notes or at least hold on to the papers they give you.
This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice I could give you. Preview is a 2 Day experience with A LOT of important information. While you might already be aware of some of the stuff you’ll be told, there will surely be new information that is important to pay attention to. Jot down quick reminders of the things you need to do before the Summer/Fall semester. It’s important you don’t forget to pay your fines and fees and program your internet devices before you arrive on campus. You’ll be thankful that you took these notes later on.
Most of all, enjoy the experience! It can be a tiring and overwhelming process, but you will leave UF feeling even more excited and prepared for the start of your first college semester.
Do you have any other tips for UF orientation!? Share in the comments below!
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"Lover of ballet, traveling, and chocolate and devoted Barnes and Nobles addict. Kat is a freshman at the University of Florida studying English Literature. She writes short stories in the hopes of one day writing and publishing a novel. ""I was never insane, except upon occasions when my heart was touched.""-Edgar Allan Poe"