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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

College students should take advantage of sporting opportunities

A week from today, I will take my last class at Florida.

Although I’m happy to finally be done with school, I am going to miss UF.

In my four years, I had a lot of good times — many of them involving Gators sports.

I spent my first two years at UF attending sporting events as a fan, and the final two, I turned into a cynical asshole covering the teams.

Through my experiences, I enjoyed many different events and learned some lessons along the way.

Current and future students should try to take advantage of the great teams they have at Florida.

Here is some advice for students while in school:

1. Go to a national championship

Obviously, this is conditional on a Gators team making the national championship. But I went to the Final Four in Atlanta my freshman year, and I still remember it as the best weekend of my college life. You are not going to get many chances to go to a national championship event, so if you have the opportunity, you need to do it. Don’t worry about the cost. I know most of you are struggling college students, but you just can’t pass up an opportunity to go to a national championship.

2. Camp out for a basketball game

I spent so much time outside Gate 3 of the O’Connell Center my freshman year that when I called Five Star Pizza, they asked if I still lived at the O’Connell Center. While waiting outside an arena for a basketball game doesn’t seem like the best way to spend your time, it really isn’t that bad. I made a lot of good friends and now have a bunch of good stories from my experience. It is also a great opportunity to sit in seats you would have to pay a lot of money for if you weren’t a student, so take advantage of the chance.

3. Don’t take losses so seriously

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I know this may seem hard, but it is just a game. Growing up, and even my first two years at UF, if my team lost, I was in an awful mood the rest of the day. UF students have just become accustomed to seeing the football team win, so when they lose, most die-hards don’t know what to do. My answer to that is just breathe, relax and go on with the rest of your day. As connected as you may feel to the team, you are not a part of it and shouldn’t feel like you are.

4. Go watch the small sports

We don’t get to start on the football beat here at the Alligator. Instead, we get to suffer through covering a smaller beat. But it really isn’t bad. They are actually pretty entertaining.  And from a journalist’s standpoint, they might even be better to cover because they don’t receive as much coverage, so the coaches and athletes are more eager to talk. Also, they really do appreciate the few times when the fans fill their stadiums, unlike the men’s basketball and football teams, which expect their stadiums to be filled.

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