Being from Florida, I knew that for money’s sake, I would go to undergrad there. I knew my choice was between the top two schools: Florida State University and University of Florida. The choice was easy, for me, because I had familial ties to Florida. Despite being close to other Gator alumni, there are things that they did not tell me that I wish they would have!
1.) You Have to Like Football
I personally think that watching other people play sports is boring; and, this torture is only amplified by the sweltering heat of none other than “The Swamp.” The only parts of game day that is worthwhile to someone like me are the free drinks (reasonably attractive girls and up drink free), and the promise of delicious drunk food close to campus. I’ve told people of my secret hatred before, and I regretted it instantly. I was asked, in all seriousness, “Why do you even go to University of Florida.” This isn’t Mean Girls I do go here. And just because watching padded boys run into each other is not my idea of a fun time does not mean that I am less deserving of attending the university. Aren’t we here for education anyway?
2.) Five Things I Wish I Knew about UF before I Attended
No one in my family was part of the Greek system, and to be honest, I forgot that it was a thing until Preview on UF campus at the end of high school. I figured I could try to rush to help make friends, but that experience went horribly for me: I went home crying almost every day because of the superficiality and rigidity of the rushing system; and even though I got a bid, I dropped. This put me into an awful no man’s land: Greek girls want to hang out with their sisters, and Greek boys want to date girls from top-tier sororities GDI girls want to promote feminism with no shoes on in the middle of campus, and GDI boys, with man-buns, want to practice tightrope walking between trees. Looking back, I cannot say that I regret dropping out of Greek life, but I can say that I would have had more social opportunities (whatever their value may have been) if I had decided to pay for friends.
3.) Binge Drinking is an Art Form
You know how they say that you’re only an alcoholic if you keep drinking after college? This is true. If anyone at UF took a survey of their alcohol consumption, they would all be considered raging alcoholics, and probably have to have their livers checked immediately. It is hard not to be with the strip of bars, Midtown, right on campus, though. Even though they smell like vomit and are teeming with under aged girls looking for “The One,” Midtown is the precious that allows poor UF students to easily put themselves into a comatose state any night of the week.
4.) “I Don’t Care if You Come to Class” Is Not a Challenge.
UF is known for its academic strength it is often called the Public Ivy League of the South. Despite this, people still choose to skip class. The professors lead you on and tell you that they do not care if you come to class, since they are getting paid regardless; and, that it is up to you to make the grades. I wish someone would have told me that this is a trap, and that being awake for three days straight in Club West (the Library on campus) at the end of the semester living on nothing but Starbucks and Chipotle might get the grades, but it is not worth the stress. It is better to just do the deed and make it to class, even if you are facing the hangover from hell on the walk there while it is 95 degrees outside. Never forget that teachers at UF are personable and being “facey” (making face time something people also do at Club West) with them (and everyone) matters.
5.) It Is Smaller Than You Think
Sure, there are over 50,000 students there and there are so many clubs and program opportunities to find a personal niche for yourself but yet, everyone knows everything about everyone. Whether it be from people writing things about you on the chalk boards at Midtown, or people Yik Yakking about who you’re sleeping with/whether or not you have herpes, or even gossiping it up in Club West, it happens. This issue can be avoided if you stay off the social radar, but then, like me, you end up spending nights alone binging on Netflix and eating 5 servings worth of cookie delivery with your Jimmy Johns. Your move, freshman.
Sami Dean graduated from University of Florida in 2014 and is now a freelance writer for carious publications.