One of the things that I wish that someone had told me was that living in the dorms in your first year is one of the most important decisions that you can make. I have come across so many fellow students, both who have lived on and off campus in their freshman year and the general consensus seems to be that your first year will be fundamentally different if you don't live on campus that year. There are so many activities thrown by the dorm area governments and your floor RA(resident assistant) just so that you and your new fellow Gators can get to know each other. You are way more likely to get involved on campus if you already live there. Best choice ever!
I wish I had not under-estimated the importance of self-confidence. Not only regarding your self-esteem but also possesssing self-confidence with your morals and decision is vital. Although many students are intially elated at leaving home for the first time, becoming independent in college is a rather daunting task. So many peer pressures are thrown at you at once: socially, academically and emotionally. It is tempting to get bogged down in trivial matters surrounding campus life. I wish I had entered college with an unshakable faith in myself and in my ability to succeed.
I wish I had appreciated more the vast resources and talent that I had at my fingertips while attending such an outstanding university. We often go into school thinking that the work is work and that we are really there for the fun. I would really have taken much more advantage of my professors and their knowledge. I would have spent more time cultivating mentorship relationships and delving into the plethora of activities and opportunities available for growth and discovery. There was no limit to what was available to us, and I still feel I only scratched the surface.
If there were one piece of advice I would have hoped to receive before coming to the University of Florida, it would have been to develop a strong work ethic. Intelligence is important, although something I've realized since being at the University is that there are plenty of distractions that don't exclude those with an abundant supply of knowledge. A strong work ethic is essential in order to achieve academic success. Companies in both the private and public sector's strongly appreciate the student with a strong work ethic rather than the sole 4.0 student.
I wish that I would have known how loud it gets on campus when there is a home football game. There are lots of noise and different tailgating parties taking place simultaneously on the campus. This makes it very difficult to find a quiet place to study. Also, I wish I had known how unpopulated the camp would be on weekends and holidays. During these times, the campus becomes very desolated and walking around such a huge campus can be very scary at times. During this time I have to remain very vigilant of our surroundings while wandering outside.
Use your time wisely to get the best of your experience. The campus life will seem a little overwhelming at first, and it will be tough to stay focused academically but you have to look at the bigger picture; Grades are everything. Network as much as possible since your fellow students will be in the same workplaces that you will be dealing with in the future. Get involved with campus activities and groups; These are great opportunities to meet new and interesting people from all around the world. Most importantly, don't forget to have fun!
I wish I had known the universal nature of being a person. That everyone has fears, doubts, hesitations, and aspects that they are self conscious about. If I could go back and tell myself one thing before entering the University of Florida I would say "Relax, take a deep breathe. Talk to every person you meet, because you never know whose day you will change by just saying hi." I am finally stepping out of my own shell and meeting some really great people, but I only can imagine the opportunites I missed out on by not starting earlier.
I wish I would have known how to network better. At the University of Florida, it really isn't how qualified for a position you are because frankly, practically everyone attending the University of Florida is qualified for just about any on campus position. The key to becoming successful at the University of Florida is how well you get to know current leaders and how well you can network to get leadership positions on campus. Though I have a few positions, I feel I could be much more successful had I known how key networking was to UF.
I wish I knew that computer science was not the major for me when I started this semester. I spent most of my High School in dual-enrollment, so all of my General Education Requirement sare completed. That gives me little wiggle room, as I had to pick classes towards my major since I was done with everything else. I ended up switching to Public Relations and Art History halfway through this first semester, which made me feel a little bit like a failure. But in the end all that matters is my happiness and not anyone else’s expectations.
I wish I had known how difficult it would be to secure financial aid. The competition at UF is fierce, and the sheer number of the student body means many people who need financial assistance will not receive any. Had I gone to most any other school, I would be eligible for the work-study program. Almost every job on-campus, or through the university, is work-study. Therefore, if you want a job on-campus and you don't have work-study (because of competition, not because you could financially do without), you are out of luck.