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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Well, dear reader, the time has come for us to trade in our novelty pool floats for desk chairs in lecture halls and our beachside loaded Coronas for triple-shot lattes from the Marston Science Library Starbucks. In other words, it’s time for us all to return to reality.

A lot of us were fortunate enough to spend our Summer doing things like traveling across Europe, interning in exciting cities or relaxing at the beach with our best friends. Others remained in Gainesville, hitting the books. And some of us spent our Summers at home, enjoying much-needed family time. Wherever you were this Summer and whatever you did, it’s important for all of us to make sure that we check back into reality when we get back to Gainesville.

It’s easy for us to get caught up in the new — probably more relaxed — routines we cultivated over the past few months. Coming back to school is oftentimes a shock for some of us, especially for freshmen returning for their sophomore year.

Fall semester is hard. There is no getting around that. There are football games, parties, Greek recruitment, club meetings and the overall rigor of classes. For most of us, this is the most difficult semester and the busiest by far.

Of course, we are all excited to come back to school. No matter the stress we may face come late August, nothing can trump the immense joy we feel being reunited with our best friends and with our freedom.

We realize college is much more than just taking classes and getting an education. It’s about making memories and being somewhat careless while you still can. It’s about Midnight Cookies orders with your roommates in the middle of the night and hungover brunches at Flying Biscuit Cafe after a questionable night at Midtown. It’s about friendships made and lessons learned outside the classroom. It’s about more than just exams and papers.

We realize this, and we know you probably do, too. However, it’s important that you don’t get too caught up in this ideology. This idea of making the most of your college experience has gone a little too far. A lot of students take it too seriously and begin to neglect their schoolwork — the main reason they live in Gainesville.

You’ve seen it before, I’m sure. That straight-A student you knew in high school that you only now see wasted at The Rowdy Reptile. You’ve seen friends, who had brilliant futures and astute intelligence, fall through the cracks. We urge you to not be one of them.

Enjoy yourself, of course, but not at the cost of your future. Before you know it, you become that kid who graduated six years ago and still can’t seem to get his or her life together.

Have fun. Don’t be afraid to make a decision you know is the wrong one. Don’t feel guilty for staying out late. Let yourself live. Just don’t ruin your future.

You’ve worked too hard to get here, and you owe it to yourself to keep it together. Dear reader, we want you to enjoy your time in college, but we also want you to find success afterward. Keep in mind as you return to school this Fall, you’re doing just that. Returning to school.

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