After all the acceptance letters, grad parties and tearful goodbyes set to the tune of Vitamin C's "Graduation (Friends Forever)," UF's newest additions to the student body had one final step to make on their road to officially becoming Gators: going to class.
For many returning UF students, the first day of Summer B is just another excuse to procrastinate and drink; "real school" doesn't start for a few days. For freshmen, however, the first day can fall anywhere between adventure and complete chaos.
On her very first day of college, 18-year-old Valeria Nasiri woke up at 7 a.m., as usual.
She gave herself plenty of time to get to her first class in case she got lost, which she did.
But even after a minor detour around the Reitz Union, Nasiri made it to her macroecononomics class in Bryan Hall with time to spare.
She wasn't nervous about starting college, unlike her parents, who drove her up from their home in West Palm Beach on Friday.
As the professor approached the lectern, Nasiri pulled from her backpack a shiny new three-ring binder, into which she inserted the class syllabus after dutifully highlighting all important information and scribbling a few notes into the margin.
She is excited about the class, since she's an economics major, but doesn't much like the idea of school during the summer.
"My train of thought when I was applying was, if I came early, I would be more motivated," she said. "Then when I graduated, I thought, ‘Ah, should've taken that vacation.'"
On the way to her only other class, the perennially popular Bugs and People, Nasiri spotted the Krishna Lunch carts on the Plaza of the Americas and got curious.
Before gobbling down her spinach and rice, she briefly struggled with her bicycle lock at Turlington Hall.
"Nobody will steal my bike in broad daylight, will they?"she asked, fumbling with the lock.
After class, Nasiri stood staring at a wall of rain separating her from her bicycle and sighed.
Her first day of college classes had been just fine, but the ride back to Springs Residential Complex would not be pleasant.
But rainy season isn't such a big deal for natives. The hardest part about summer classes?
"Not slacking off, and getting A's," Nasiri said.
Alyssa Allen, 18, a freshman at UF, said she's ready for the challenge. Even though class sizes exceed 300 students, heavy workloads are given in weed-out courses to push teetering minds over the edge and high school social butterflies won't know who to eat lunch with or if they'll make friends, Allen thinks the class of 2015 will be okay.
She said even though college can be overwhelming, excitement outweighs the fear, and that's what college students should focus on.
Her advice for those who are having a difficult time adjusting: "Try not to think how scary it can be."
But not every student will have the same positive outlook as Allen, and for those who are having a difficult time adjusting to the stress, there is help available at the UF Counseling and Wellness Center.
Jordan Stewart, 22, a UF graduate and a Reitz Union information desk assistant, said students are becoming more mature and up to the tasks of college and adulthood. Students might get lost and walk around with their heads in a campus map, or freak out about an assignment that's more difficult to understand than the Communist Manifesto, but they end up okay, she said.
"Everyone's gonna take that hard class that's gonna kick them in the butt," she said, "but you find a way to push through."
Shannan Garrison, a biology freshman, left, and Addie Kraemer, a civil engineering freshman, right, study outside of Subway in the Reitz Union on Monday evening.