Heading to college is an amazing and multifaceted adventure. Embarking on this new time in your life creates fun memories, brilliant academic achievements and many, many challenging lessons. As if leaving home for the first time isn’t daunting enough, you have to learn how to balance laundry, eating, friends and class. However, don’t fret just yet.
Check out these 10 ways University of Florida students suggest to make your college transition successful and exciting.
1. Bring the essentials for your dorm in Broward.
Surviving your first semester at the University of Florida begins before you ever pack your car and drive to the swamp. Make a list of all the things you imagine you need in your dorm. Do some research about what is and what is not allowed in your dorm. When asked what she couldn’t live without in her dorm, Samantha Arnett, a freshman at the University of Florida said, “I could not live without my Brita Filter. Staying hydrated in college is very important and having the water in my dorm room is convenient.” Gathering all the right bathroom essentials is a good attempt at making the communal bathrooms at Broward at least feel somewhat luxurious. “I could not live without my Velcro towel. It is extremely nice to have a towel I know won’t fall off of me on the long trek to and from the bathroom,” University of Florida freshman Taylor Konopka said. Some good smelling body wash and a soft towel can make all the difference in the harsh world of a communal shower.
2. Keep everything organized.
Once you move into your new dorm and you hug your mom and dad goodbye, the next step to your success is organization. It is no secret that the dorms at University of Florida are tiny. Putting away all your important items and keeping track of everything will finally characterize you as a real adult. Designating drawers in your dresser for specific things will make getting ready in the morning a lot easier. Keeping your desk organized is a very important part of being successful with your classes. Make sure to grab some sticky notes and highlighters at the bookstore—trust me, you will need them. Finally, keep your Gator ID, your license, your dorm key and your insurance cards with you at all times. Before college, your parents were able to keep you in check by having their documentation but now it’s time you know what to carry around with you.
3. Join team Marston or defend team Lib West.
The list of study spots at the University of Florida seems endless. You can find nooks and crannies in every building where you see most of the student population flipping through flashcards or scribbling out a math problem. Many students find themselves a loyal supporter of Marston or Library West and willing to argue the legitimacy of their claim with any who oppose. “The Law Library is my favorite place to study. It’s all about what noise level you’re productive in and what’s close to your dorm though,” freshman at the University of Florida Cameron Soviero said. There is a library or study space for all tastes. From the book-less, but ergonomic feeling of the study pods in Newell Hall to the cathedral style ceiling and earth-shattering silence of Library East, one of these spaces will accommodate your study-style. The individual colleges offer many unique study spaces that you can reserve. The University of Florida also offers a number of spaces that are open 24/7, providing the night owl a place to grind out a paper.
4. Know where to get good eats in G-ville.
Making sure you eat is a very important part of the learning curve that comes with college. Needing to make time to go to Gator Dining or cook for yourself are generally foreign concepts to most college students. Staying well fed will make you more productive for longer, feel more rested and keep headaches away. Eating healthy is difficult in college since most fast food is fried but also quick to order and eat. Keeping some breakfast foods, like yogurt and granola bars in your dorm will help you make sure you kick your day off with even just a little. “If you are off campus, steer clear of the meal plan. It is very difficult to cancel,” University of Florida freshman Patrick Boatman said. It sounds easy to just drive to campus to grab some food, but it is most certainly not.
5. Stay healthy in the Swamp.
A juicy Relish burger or some carrots? The normal college student would opt for a quick trip to Relish. Don’t go out to Midtown with a fever though; stay in and watch Netflix. College students find staying healthy somewhat difficult to maintain. Being in a new place with new germs can expose you to illnesses that you’ve never had or heard of. Your sleep schedule out-of-whack and you honestly stray away from eating the most vitamin–rich meals. Getting sick is a major setback in college but combatting is easy and rewarding. Pick up some Emergen-C and when you start to feel not so great, take one of those. Don’t forget those sick roommate. Use Lysol spray to clean the air and take as many preventative cleaning measures that you can to ensure your health is up to part.
6. Leave time for fun.
Getting caught up in all the assignments and studying is way too easy. There are so many things you could do for fun. Even though taking breaks can feel like too much fooling around when you have piles of homework to work through, do it for your own sanity. You’ll find so many nice places to enjoy in Gainesville so make sure you don’t only focus on academics. In Downtown Gainesville, you’ll discover a number of delicious restaurants and many trails for walking and running. They provide beautiful sights and peaceful vibes. Two large gyms on campus provide students with places to get a little fun workout in. Gainesville is also home to many painting studios where you can go and paint for a bit to escape exam stress. It is proven that studying for long periods of time is much more lucrative if you break it up with activity. “My favorite way to de-stress is to hammocking. When you’re in there, you feel like you can just avoid everything,” freshman at the University of Florida Mary Boerboom said. A little fresh air and sunlight can work wonders on your mood and make you much more motivated to put in more time studying.
7. Find your best study skills.
Another key to success in your first semester is identifying your study skills. Use the first semester to experiment with all the different types of studying methods and see what the works best for you. This will ensure success in your future classes. At the University of Florida, you can find many resources and facilities that accommodate any type of study habits. If you need complete silence for productivity, a silent floor or the desk in your dorm may give you the best opportunity to learn the material. When asked his best study method, freshman Zach Soviero said, “The best study method for me is studying in groups of people in a place with a lot of noise. I know that’s not a normal response, but I can’t think in silence.”
8. Use Google Maps (and the Rider app)!
The University of Florida campus is HUGE. And that could be overwhelming. Make sure you locate your classes and at least attempt to navigate the campus a couple of times before your first day of class. Leave in plenty of time to get to class because there is usually traffic or people tabling in Turlington that will keep you from getting there in the exact amount of time Google Maps tells you. Courtland Campo, University of Florida freshman said, “On Rider make sure and check the bus is not stopping at a station for a bit before you leave your dorm or apartment. This will decrease your wait which is especially nice in the cold and rain. Oh, and always leave early.” Google Maps and Rider monitor locations of the RTS buses that navigate the campus and a lot of the surrounding areas around campus.
9. Look out for other Gators.
When you come to the swamp you immediately become a part of something far bigger and older than yourself. This comes with a big responsibility: to watch out for and befriend as many fellow Gators as you possibly can. Offer a lending hand when you see someone in one of your class struggling; you learn best by teaching others. Ask your pals to have lunch with you at the Reitz. They need to take a break from studying as much as you do. Check up on your friends mental health. If a fellow Gator wants to talk about something, listen with all ears and help them find the resources they need. The Gator Nation is your family now and in order to rightfully classify as successful in your first semester, you’ll need to give support to the people around you.
10. Cut yourself some slack.
You can only kill your first semester of college if you cut yourself a little slack. The transition won’t classify as the easiest thing you’ve ever done. You’ll hit bumps in the road and overcome challenges along the way. Back at home with your family and friends over break, you’ll look back on the last few months and feel proud. The satisfaction won’t come overnight and you’ll surely have to jump from stepping stone to stepping stone. But by the end of your first semester, you’ll feel like there was never a time in your life when you weren’t part of the Gator Nation. “While at the University of Florida, I have become more easy going and relaxed, just taking everyday at a time. I try to live in the present state and enjoy every fun event or gathering at that moment, rather than stressing about assignment,” University of Florida freshman Lauren Reho said. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the campus, a lot about yourself,and many other new things in the process. Allow room for yourself to have all the amazing experiences the university has to offer.