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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Freshmen ask, seniors answer: Getting involved on campus

We're back with our first official question! Remember to submit your questions for our senior to answer! 

Question: “I'm looking to get involved on campus and really regret not rushing. What can I do to get more into the social life?” - Anonymous

Answer: As a senior, I have been there. I know it’s about more than your studies. It’s about making friends, establishing connections and having the time of your life. During your time at UF, campus will be your home away from home, so you need make the best of it. Here are six ways to get involved here:

1. Decide what kind of organization you are interested in joining. Do you want to join an educational organization, or are you just interested in having a good time and making new friends? At UF, we have more than 975 registered student organizations. You’ll need to narrow your options down a bit before beginning your exploration. Browse the entire student organization list by name or category to find the organization(s) that is right for you. Student Activities and Involvement has a variety of links to explore for involvement information and organization contacts.

2. Apply for the University Minority Mentor Program. This program is designed for first-year undergraduate students, like yourself, to meet members of faculty and staff and other students within your major. As a previous student involved in this program myself, I can say it was the best thing I did to get involved and meet people. If you don’t consider yourself a “minority,” it’s OK. Any incoming undergraduate students can apply.

3. Go to events on campus (even if you think they're tacky). Yes, I know it seems like the events designed to guide incoming students are ridiculous. But the truth is: you need to attend them. GatorNights are free every Friday night for students. You can also keep up with the GatorConnect's calendar of events for up-to-date notice of assemblies, events and meetings on campus.

4. Join an intramural sports team. If you want to meet other students, intramural sports is a great way to get involved. All you need is a Gator 1 Card. Check the RecSports Intramural Sports website for registration, team and schedule information.

5. Join Student Government. SG provides students the chance to meet students of all years and majors through meetings or events. Go to the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom today or Tuesday to find out about upcoming events, prominent campus issues and open positions within the organization. It is definitely worth a visit!

6. Talk to other students. I can’t keep track of how much advice I received by networking with others on campus. Your classmates and professors are great sources of ideas for getting involved. The best way to tap into your inner social butterfly is to get out there and communicate. Attend a meeting with a friend, and talk with those in attendance. It might be intimidating at first, but you can’t be afraid to break out of your shell.

One last tip: Don’t confine yourself to being involved on campus. Spend time at local restaurants (The Swamp Restaurant and Satchel’s are must-eat places!), volunteer around the community and fully immerse yourself in Gainesville life.

Don’t let being a freshman intimidate you. Get out there, meet new people, make the most of your college experience and enjoy The Gator Nation.

Until next week! In the meantime, remember to submit your questions for our senior to answer! 

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