Welcome back! As of July 14th, I officially have one month before I move into the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. A crazy thought, I know. With that being said, there's lots to do before I actually live there. College shopping, outfit planning, and, dun dun dunnnnn, orientation!
My orientation goes through two days, the 16th and 17th of July, though the weekend beforehand I stayed with my cousin who already went for the summer session. I took those two days to experience the school from a student’s perspective, not just an orientation-going freshman. It allowed me to freely travel with my cousin to certain spots I’ve seen online, IRL.
We went to two different coffee shops, CYM Coffee Company and Pascal’s Coffeehouse. Both were extremely homey-feeling. Cym is actually located in a refurbished house, while Pascal’s is in a Christian study center. Beanbags and couches line the walls of Cym, and it’s located right next to a fresh bowl place. My cousin bought coffee from them to make in his apartment, and struck up a nice conversation about the ins and outs of coffee brewing.
Pascal’s is definitely closer to campus, and is definitely more my scene. There are two stories, and it’s so clean and bright. I definitely have to figure out my go-to coffee order, but after seeing it online for so long, it felt surreal to actually be there. I’d love to get a job there if my schedule permits in the Spring:)
We got to Pascal’s by scooter, which was so much fun! I’m looking into getting one for myself, since I’m not bringing my car up for school. It has a lot more range than my bike, and it would make getting here a breeze.
We then went to a lake and went kayaking, played frisbee, and swam in the water. All of it free if you’re a student! That honestly was such a solid day, ended with a home-cooked meal and an early night in.
At 8:50 in the morning, I was welcomed to UF’s Preview. After a brief opening with all of the staff, we were separated into small groups where we introduced ourselves and potential career paths for around an hour and a half. We did a Kahoot on common UF facts, and I actually won out of 20 people because I was the only person who knows the name of our newspaper (The Independent Florida Alligator). Just Journalism Things!
Afterwards, we were allowed to go to a choice of breakout session, from Pre-Health, to Making a Major Decision, to Career Connections. I chose to go to Internationalizing Your Degree, because at some point in my college career I want to study abroad. My ideal wish would be to study in Europe either as a May-mester or go in the fall, so I don’t miss any campus life activities. From there we went to lunch, and we were able to go to two seminars that each of the colleges put on.
My two were the College of Journalism and Communications, and the Heavener School of Business. I learned a lot about each of the tracks, and what each major entails. At that point in time I wanted to double major in those two subjects, so I was glad they allowed us to go to two of them.
The sessions afterwards allowed us to go back to those two locations and figure out which classes to pick for our schedule. I knew I wanted to take a balance of business and journalism classes, so I created a rough draft of all of those classes to be approved later by our preview small group leader.
On-Campus Housing was a presentation I enjoyed, because it affirmed my notions that it’ll keep me involved and in-tune with what college life is about. Where I live is close to everything I want to be close to, so it’ll be a nice change to have easy access to so many resources.
Another breakout session was in store, with a lot of different options. The options were more based around extracurricular activities and programs to join. Since I’ve been interested in rushing sororities for a long period of time, the Gators’ Guide to Florida Greek was the session for me. They talked about all the different types of greek life they have, from Multicultural to National Pan-Hellenic. There are 18 sororities on the Panhellenic Council, the one I want to be a part of. They gave us a booklet with all of the dates for recruitment, which I have studied relentlessly.
A bunch of safety seminars later, and one crazy dance party later, the second day rolled around. This is when we were able to choose our actual schedule. The night before was a little bit of a mess-I was crazy worried about what path I should take. I had originally wanted to double major, but I knew in my heart that it wasn’t going to have the same weight as a Masters degree. Business was more of a safety net for me, while my true passions were with the journalism school. So, with the help of my preview staffer, I came to the conclusion that I am going into UF with my major in Advertising, and will declare a minor in business.
I went to the Journalism school and picked my schedule. Two course requests later and an economics bypass, and I ended up with my fall course list! It’s a mix of business, advertising, and journalism classes so I can clearly test all my interests. A bunch of informative presentations later, and I rushed to my mom with my ID and tears in my eyes. I officially made it!
Some Things to Keep in Mind When Going to Orientation
- Don’t Feel Bad If You Don’t Meet Friends Right Away- when I went to Preview, I kept my eyes open to potentially meet people I would connect with right away. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, but I know it’s okay! There’s so many more students coming in that weren’t at the same one I was at, and actually reminded me how important it is to join clubs and organizations I want to be in. Since there’s such a big population of people to meet, going to those simple activities can narrow down your search to people who have similar interests or mindsets as you.
- Don’t Feel Bad for Having Second Thoughts- most people coming into orientation have the chance to learn about a lot of different majors that they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. Some students come in with a set plan, some want to explore, and some experience both. When I came in, I wanted to balance two very dedicated majors, wanting to study my passion but also felt pressured to pursue a “safety net” subject. When it came down to it, I knew that if I wanted to be happy and successful in college I had to follow where my passions and strengths led me. That being to fully major in the journalism school and take on a minor in business. When you’re choosing what you want to study, always follow your gut and what you truly feel will bring you the most success. If you feel passionate about a subject, you’re more likely to want to put in effort and do good than if you’re taking a bunch of subjects solely because you think it’ll bring superficial stability.
- PLEASE bring enough bedding if you’re sleeping in the dorms. I made the mistake of not only forgetting a pillow, but not bringing a warm enough blanket. No. Go. Completely my fault.
Thank you so much for reading! If you’re about to go through orientation or in a few years, I hope it gives you a peek into what it’s like/some things to keep in mind.