Being accepted into The Gator Nation left me with a bittersweet feeling. I was excited to pack up and head to the Swamp, but I worried if I had made the right decision.
How could I commit to bleeding orange and blue when my closet was full of green and gold? As a transfer student from the University of South Florida, coming to a new school in the middle of my college career seemed daunting.
How do you feel like a Gator when you’re used to rooting for the opposing team?
Get into gameday
Even if you never went to a sporting event at your old school, being in a college stadium can make you feel a part of something. You don’t need to paint your entire body, but going to at least one game will get you one step closer to being a Gator. Plus, you’ll be amazed at what adding a little orange and blue to your wardrobe can do to your spirit.
Take a tour
You probably knew where every building on campus was at your old school. But even if all your classes are in the same room at UF it doesn’t hurt knowing where things are. Get acquainted with the campus — You don’t want to have to ask someone where a building is, and not even have the excuse of being a freshman.
Buddy up a professor
Professors in your college have had the opportunity to take note of your peers for the past two years. Being the new guy in town, it’s important to set up a time to meet with your professors and introduce yourself. Feeling like a Gator can be as simple as building a friendly relationship with a faculty member. You can’t feel a part of UF if not one professor knows your name. Plus, when the time comes to ask for reference letters you’ll be glad you made the effort.
Join a club
Meeting new people can be hard as a transfer student — by junior year many students have established their core group of friends on campus. Maybe it’s one of the most obvious suggestions, but joining a club or an intramural sport can be a great way to feel like you’re a part of university life and make friends. There is practically a club for every interest; it doesn’t hurt to try one or two out.
If all else fails, at least learn the words to “We Are the Boys.”
This story originally ran on page 17 on 8/14/2013 under the headline "Transfers can feel like Gators, too"