The start of a new school year marks the first day on campus for not only freshmen, but also transfer, Innovation Academy and Pathway to Campus Enrollment students getting settled in the Swamp.
Although the transition can be nerve-racking, all UF students — whether admitted traditionally or non-traditionally — are an essential part of the Gator nation and encouraged to take every opportunity to succeed in the university.
“They are as much of a student as anyone else on this campus,” Cooper Brown, UF’s student body president, said.
Brown completed most of his undergraduate degree online as a UF PaCE student and said students should immerse themselves in campus life in any way they can and take advantage of all the opportunities the university has to offer.
“I always like to tell students, you know, PaCE and (Innovation Academy) students and even transfer students, is that it's not a barrier,” the 23-year-old graduate student said. “You can still get involved in whatever you want to get involved in.”
As the first former UF PaCE student to serve as student body president, Brown urges students to get connected as UF students come from all over the world and getting to know one another will allow them to grow individually.
“The Gator nation is huge, I mean, it’s worldwide, and your time here whether that be two or three years as a transfer student or four years, or however longer as a PaCE or innovation student, just really enjoy your time, get connected and meet people,” he said.
UF Online will host a Fall 2021 Welcome Week for incoming and returning students to learn more about the UF Online experience and meet their online peers.
Beyond online schooling, UF has welcomed thousands of transfer students from all around the country. In 2019, over 2,000 students transferred to UF.
UF alumnus Ivey Sapp said transferring was nerve-racking at first as she came from Cross City, a small town in Dixie County, Florida.
“At first it was like a culture shock because you don’t know anyone, you’re at this big campus, you’re kind of overwhelmed with everything that college life is throwing at you, but as I went on in my first semester as a transfer student, things got easier,” the 23-year-old said.
Sapp transferred to UF from Florida Gateway College in Fall 2017 into the Unified Elementary ProTeach program at the UF College of Education.
Through the program, she had the opportunity to create a network with not only friends who she took with her after college, but also professors and teaching assistants who enhanced her professional aspirations.
“If you find your friend group there and you find people that you feel a connection to, you’ll fit in faster than you think,” Sapp said.
Alexis Galindo, a UF economics senior, also recommended incoming transfer students to take advantage of getting involved on campus.
“If you have the opportunity to do so, do it because that’s what I regret the most,” the 21-year-old said.
Galindo transferred to UF in Fall 2020 and said he struggled to get involved and make friends during his first year as classes went online due to COVID-19.
However, as the university pushes for in-person classes this Fall, he said he is excited to see what campus life is like at UF.
“For the first time, as a senior, I’ll be actually experiencing the full college life at UF,” Galindo said. “And, I don’t know, I think that’s always crazy to think about.”
Contact Camila Pereira at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CamilaSaPereira.
Camila is a third-year journalism student and the administration reporter on the university desk. When she is not reporting for The Alligator, Camila is always listening to music and probably drinking honey milk tea.