From a Florida Gator to all prospective UF freshman, here are the things that you as a soon-to-be Baby Gator have to know about freshman orientation at The University of Florida.
1. The word “orientation” is WAY too mainstream.
Here at the University of Florida, “freshman orientation” is too mainstream and boring a name to call your first steps as a UF student. Instead, orientation is called “Preview.”
At Preview, you are getting one of the best pictures as to what your life will be like as a UF Freshman, so get pumped.
2. These boots were made for walking, and that’s just what you’ll be doing for the next two days.
From the moment you step out of your car, you’ll receive a taste of how much walking will be done this week in the walk from the Commuter Lot at UF to the Reitz Union. For an experienced Gator, that walk is no sweat,; as a baby freshman, you will find yourself wondering if you’ll even make it halfway. PSA, this walk is only a mere 3% of the walking you will be doing over the next two days, so be prepared with the appropriate footwear, which brings us to the next point…
3. Pack the essentials, not the extras.
Only pack the essentials on your trip to Preview. A few things you will want are some good shoes that are comfortable, some comfortable clothes, sheets and pillow for sleeping (as the girl who did not bring any sheets to Preview and had her mom drive out to Walmart during the middle of Preview, I advise you to bring sheets) and a small compact umbrella to carry around. Don’t worry about bringing a backpack or a purse; the Preview Staff will give you these fashionable bags to use during your stay at UF! Remember to carry that bag around and wear your class t-shirt your first week of classes as well so everyone knows you’re a freshman!
4. Be prepared to change all of your life plans.
You may come to Preview believing you’re going to be a life-changing scientist, but after taking a look at all the math you’ll have to take, you might decide that the biochemistry major is not for you. Or you might want to be an elementary teacher and realize that you don’t really like children that much. Or you might want to study foreign languages but then realize that you just aren’t cut out for learning a new language.
This is all okay! That’s the reason you’re at Preview: to plan out your next four years and potentially decide what you want to do with your life.
Even if you don’t know what you want to do, that’s okay! You can always plan your classes around a broad area of study if you know you want to work in a certain field but not sure exactly what just yet. Similarly, you can always just be an exploratory student and take whatever classes interest you to see what you’re into!
5. Smart scheduling with your classes.
At Preview, you have both a staffer and an advisor who help you through picking your classes and deciding what you want to do during your college career. On your second day of Preview, your advisor will help you navigate the online program used to pick your classes here at UF. A couple of common tips during this experience include:
- Don’t let your advisor convince you to retake any classes you have credit for here unless you are pursuing a higher education, such as medical school
- Pick classes during the times you know you will be most likely to focus in. For example, I had lab on Friday nights from 6-9pm, but could leave when my team finished their work. Since I was always focused on leaving and going to the fun events planned for that night (#gatornights), I rushed through a lot of my labs and got less than stellar grades. Also, avoid morning classes like the plague. You think you’ll be able to get up for them, but trust me: you won’t.
- Have your Preview advisor show you a map of your class buildings to see if it is physically possible for you to get to those classes. My Preview advisor never did this, so I ended up dropping one of my classes because it was right after another class that was on the opposite side of campus.
Follow these tips while scheduling your first semester as a Gator and you’ll be set!
6. The Common Reading Program!
At Preview, you’ll receive the Common Reading Book for the year, a book hand chosen for your class specifically to inspire you for the upcoming school year. If you do read your book, good for you! You’re set to go on and be successful in life. If you don’t read it, lol same (seriously though, read it)
7. Have fun with it!
If I could go back and redo Preview, I would totally just have let myself be less stressed about everything and be more relaxed. Have fun at your Preview! It’s the only one you get to experience. Get to know people, don’t do anything too embarrassing, have fun with it, and welcome to the greatest school in the world! Go gators!