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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Freshman year is an exhilarating and exciting time, from starting classes to scoping out the social scene. But it comes with its ups and downs. Hear from some UF freshmen about the good and the bad of starting a new chapter in their lives.

The Good

1) Students are never bored.

From fraternity parties to religious groups on campus, there is something for everyone.

Freshman political science major Kathryn Kuethman, 17, said, “My favorite thing about UF is the variety of opportunities I now have at my disposal. There are so many organizations and chances for professional development that I am almost overwhelmed.”

If you ever need an idea of what to do, you can always scan bulletin boards, make one-on-one personal consultations with the UF Student Activities and Involvement Team or simply just take a stroll through Turlington Plaza — there will always be people tabling for clubs or handing out flyers for parties.

2) College kids are independent.

 Sure you have to wake yourself up in the morning, discipline yourself to study and maybe even finally learn to cook for yourself.

 On the bright side, no one is yelling at you to get out of bed, hit the books or eat your veggies. You have to do those things yourself.

 Freshman pre-pharmacy student Sidney Raymond, 18, said, “Having the freedom to do pretty much whatever you want is great.”

 You decide when to sleep, when to wake up, when to study, what to eat, how to spend your evenings; everything is completely and entirely up to you. Revel in it. 

3) People are nice.

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It could just be that you are from South Florida and are not used to the hospitality, but the consensus is that UF students and Alachua County natives are exceptionally welcoming.

Freshman political science student Amy Sapp, 18, said, “I adore how welcoming students from every age group are to incoming Summer B freshmen. Everywhere I turn, someone is offering to give me a ride, help me with homework or even take me to lunch. The sense of community and camaraderie at UF is beyond compare.”

4) Your peers are good-looking.

Perhaps it’s the hot weather and natural lighting, but overall UF kids are just really attractive.

Laniel Romeus, 18, a freshman psychology major, said, “The people are usually pretty, even the athletes from what little I've seen.”

Enough said. 

The Bad

1) Transportation is a pain.

Make sure you park in your designated area; the UFPD will catch you and will ticket you.

Thomas “TJ” Psyche, 18, a freshman accounting major, was given two parking tickets in only his first few weeks at UF. “Parking here is a nightmare. Who knew Red 1 was better than Red 3?”

If you receive a ticket, Major Brad Barber, assistant director of UFPD, suggests students “certainly and immediately either appeal that ticket or pay that ticket, because if more tickets come you certainly run the risk of either having your car booted or towed, ultimately ending up in more expense.”

Keep in mind that at UF, tickets are not just limited to motor vehicles. Bicycles are considered vehicles and must obey all traffic laws that cars do. This means that bikes must stop at stop signs, yield to pedestrians, ride on the right side of the road, abide to the speed limit and follow traffic light rules.

Additionally, bicycles must have white lamps on the front with a red reflector and red lamp in the rear. Bicyclists also may not wear a listening device while riding or ride with no hands. Failure to follow any of the rules provided above, or those in the Florida Statute 316.2065, may result in a fine.

2) It is always pouring.

Summer B 2013 has proved to be notorious for rain.

“One minute I'm trapped in the Sahara and the next, I'm caught in a flood,” Sapp said.

However, senior industrial and systems engineering student Alan Yang, 21, has spent all of his summers in Gainesville since 2010. “Usually summers in Gainesville are sunny and hot,” Yang said.

This Summer B seems to be an outlier.

Yet given the weather this summer, it is always a good idea to bring an umbrella with you wherever you go. Purchasing rain boots and a rain jacket is also not a bad idea as well.

3) The meal plan is not cheap.

Jessica Small, 18, a freshman business administration student, vents, “For spending almost $800 on a meal plan, I really don’t find myself using it. Most of my freshmen friends don’t have meal plans, and they save a lot more money.”

However, Gator Dining’s achievements include placing top ten for the fifth consecutive year for “Most Vegan-Friendly College,” 2013 Sustainable Solutions Award for Waste Reduction, and Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Campus Sustainability Case Study Award.

Additionally, Gator Dining worked with Dr. Pepper to offer students a text-to-win scholarship that gave a total of $7,000 in scholarship to students.

Gator Dining also takes customer satisfactions seriously. According to Gator Dining Services’ Marketing Program Manager, Jill Rodriguez, “We review the feedback and suggestions we receive from our customers throughout the year and we incorporate these needs as we tweak and develop the coming year’s program.”

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