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UF is the oldest, biggest and arguably the most prestigious public university in Florida, and it is many high schoolers top choice in the state, and it has a very "university" feel. I am proud to say that I attend UF. I love Gainesville, which is considered a college town. UF is large enough that students can get involved with almost anything they desire; from greek life to Students for a Democratic Society, and from putting on performances at our theater to leading study groups. Students always have avenues with which to stand out, even at such a populated school. It is not uncommon to find students across campus simply laying down on the grass with a book. However, some problems have arisen lately. For one, many departments in the school are in debt, and on top of that, many schools are receiving budget cuts. This severely affects class size and quality, and if students can even sign up for different classes. There has also been issues with the administration investing in "socially irresponsible" investing, and also not making many of their spending habits transparent to the public. There are also virtually no parking spaces for students, which is especially a problem for many of the libraries on campus which stay open until after the buses stop running.
Our school is too large sometimes in that resources can be tight. I have difficulty getting in to see an advisor a lot of the time because there are just so many students. Traffic can be a nightmare. Classes are pretty full. But having a large student body has its perks, too. It is a lot of fun at football games to see the Swamp filled with orange and blue. The Gator nation is pretty big, and I love it! There's a lot more spirit here than you might find at other colleges. When I tell people I go to UF, some of them say "wow--you must be smart!" Others say "oh...a state school..." It pretty much depends on who is responding. In Florida, UF is considered an excellent school. It's just not an Ivy. I spend a lot of time on campus in the library, which is stellar. There's a starbucks there and a lot of nice, quiet places to sit and study. I also spend a lot of time in the Plaza of the Americas, which is just a lot of grass and trees and people relaxing and eating lunch and whatnot. It's nice, especially since Florida weather rocks. COLLEGE TOWN all the way. I think it depends what part of the UF administration being discussed. I think my study abroad advisor is horrible and a total you know what. I think my academic advisors are really dumb and unhelpful. But I thought my honors advisors were pretty cool, and I think the administration for my particular major does a decent job. Big recent controversies... oh, there are plenty. There was that tasering business back in the fall. Andrew Meyer is ridiculous. More recently though, there have been a lot of budget and transparency issues I think. As a rather huge state school with a legally capped tuition, UF has a lot of financial difficulties. People get upset when they see money going towards what appears to be a frivilous thing because meanwhile, majors and faculty are getting cut. Also, student government has some issues. It isn't exactly the most diverse group of people running the show, and the Greeks pretty much infiltrate the system. That has caused some problems with things like an opposition party's attempt to have UF do online voting for student government elections in an effort to mobilize the vote (rather than just having sororities and fraternities make up the entire voting population because they tell their members it's mandatory). TONS of school pride. Size, maybe. And I think Tim Tebow is a bit unusual...unusually freaking awesome. Winning those back-to-back national championships. The streets were wild with crazy happy college kids. It was so much fun! The parking is unbelievably awful here. I don't know a single driver who hasn't been ticketed or towed (or more likely both multiple times) in Gainesville. Like seriously? Make more parking spots, people!
UF is a big place, but I wouldn't change that for the world. There are so many great people with such varying backgrounds and interests that it makes life interesting. If you have a smaller major, you'll get to know the same faces anyway, so having a large campus behind it is definitely good for branching out. The best thing about UF is definitely the atmosphere. We have such pride as students. It's definitely unmatched to other campuses in Florida. The Gator Nation is truly everywhere and it's something that I know I will pride myself on when I leave school. Whenever I tell people that I go to UF, they automatically ask me if I love it. UF is definitely associated with a great college experience and I would tell anyone that it is absolutely true. Gainesville itself is built around UF. That's another reason why I think the atmosphere here is so great. There are things open late, there are tons of coffee shops, there are lots of Gator apparel stores, and there are two of everything. The campus itself is so large that you feel like you are within your own community when you are on it. The atmosphere that Gainesville provides is definitely far from what my homelife was, but for a college city, it's not too bad. UF's administration has it's ups and downs, like all colleges. I think there are some great strides being made on our campus. I'm a liberal arts and sciences major and currently that is one of the hot topics on our campus - CLAS budgets. I think that our administration is pushing the envelope with this issue because it is a large college and cutting our funding is, in my opinion, a bad call. It's frustrating to me because we have such an advanced and well know science department (Shands Hospital helps with that) - you should be pushing the other side of college academia as well. Overall, I have not have a particular bad encounter with any of the administration. Everyone I have had contact with is more than happy to help if you ask the right questions to the right people. I'm going to walk away from UF with a ton of great memories. There is so much going on in Gainesville and on campus that it is hard to not have the time of your life. If you get involved in the right things on campus, you will have a great time here. Some say that UF is too large for you to have a memorable experience, but I think that makes it better here. Perhaps it takes an outgoing person to have a good time here, but I would not trade schools for the world.
The best thing about UF is our spirit and Gainesville gives you the true college experience. It is a small town but big enough to have a good time. However, coming from Miami, Gainesville gets a really boring after not being home for a while. I've had many memorable times at UF but the one that sticks out is Halloween of freshman year. I got really wasted and I wondered around town aimlessly. They later told me I was surrounded by 3 cop cars and I was calling people telling them to pick me up in places that don't exist. What's amazing about that night is that I did not get ran over by a car or arrested.
The diversity of people hands down is the best part of the school. There are so many different kinds of people here, that no matter what your into you'll find your niche. Interacting with such diverse people has helped me grow and expanded my views on things that i've never thought of before. UF's campus on paper seems huge-but in reality its not that big AT ALL. Most classes are fifteen minutes away from the major dorms on campus. At first the campus seemed so overwhelming, but having been here for two semesters already, i can navigate around campus like a pro. When i tell people I go to UF, their reaction usually somewhat consists of them thinking i'm really smart. Which to a certain extent is true,but you need more than brains to succeed here. Most of my time on campus is spent at my sorority house (since all my meals are there, and friends for the most part) or at library west. Its basically impossible to study in a dorm there are too many distractions, and the 3rd floor of the library is the perfect quiet i need to study. Gainesville is most definitely a college town, but has some disadvantages. There isn't many things to do that aren't alcohol related, besides a movie theatre or the campus bowling alley (which in my opinion is kind of lame). I wish there was somewhere to play mini golf or go kart, on the nights when i need a break from the bar scene. The cool thing about Gainesville being a college town is the bar scene though. Right across from the stadium on University Ave, is what is called Midtown. Midtown is home to Swamp (probably the most fun yet strictest bar) and other fun bars. Midtown is also infamous for cops, and written arrests. Then if you go further down university you reach Downtown, which features more nightclubs and fun restaurants. I don't have much to say on UF's administration, i have yet to have to interact with them. There is a TREMENDOUS amount of school pride especially during football season. The friday before home games is filled with drunk gator fans packing midtown. The biggest controversy on campus recently is the introduction of minus grades (which is the worst idea ever) next fall.
Natalie FreshmanReviews provided by: Unigo