Every February, a handful of Gator Hopefuls get their acceptance letters that welcome them to the glorious life as a Gator, starting in the Summer B Term. Summer B is a time in the summer where freshmen come for 6 weeks before the rest of their class, and get one summer semester under their belt. I was one of those. Over halfway through with my Summer B Life, here’s five things freshmen should know about UF during Summer B:
1. Campus is Quiet
In the midst of Summer B, there’s plenty of room in the bike lane. As you walk through the Reitz Union exploring one of the coolest buildings on campus, you just might be able to hear your footsteps echo. If you happen to be one of those lucky kids whose parents let them bring their car, your Red Decal doesn’t seem so bad..right now. The important thing to remember about Summer B is, this probably isn’t even half of the masses of Gators that will swarm The Swamp in just a few short months. Summer B is quiet with the majority being nervous freshman like yourself. But don’t be nervous. Embrace it. Take advantage of the fact that right now, The Swamp is quiet, relaxed and all yours. Your best friend back home might be sending you pictures from the beach, but think of it this way: when fall rolls around, they’ll be running around amidst 50,000 people, confused. And you? You’ll already have the UF life down to a tee. Own it.
2. Summer Hours
Although campus being quieter than usual it is great way for freshmen to get ahold of college life, it has a downside too. That downside is the summer hours of all the restaurants campus. Want Chick-fil-A for dinner? You better hustle over to the Hub before 4:00. Craving something on the healthier side because if you see one more bowl of Minute Rice in your microwave, you might just puke? Hit Croutons up before 2:00. Late Night Starbucks run in Reitz? Not going to happen. Unless you consider 5:00 late. That Papa Johns in Reitz will mock you. Its lights won’t come on all summer. Lesson: learn the hours. If you have to get your beloved Chick-fil-A before class then throw it your mini fridge for later, do it. But learn to love and depend on Subway and Wendy’s – they’ll be the ones who have your back at decent hours.
3. Welcome! You Now Live in Rainesville!
Gainesville summer weather…prepare yourself. You may be an in-state Florida kid who thinks they know what they’re in for. Take it from a fellow born-and-raised Florida kid: this is a new level of Florida. And to you out-of-state kids, Gainesville will greet you with a very warm, sweaty, humid welcome. So yes, it’s hot. And very, very humid. To put it simply: we call it "The Swamp" for good reason. You’re going to hear another name pretty often too, one that rings very true: Rainesville. It’s summer in Gainesville, FL. If you don’t see a rain shower at a very minimum of three times a week, you might want to check and make sure you actually are in Gainesville. My word of advice is to be prepared. When you get that nice raincoat as a graduation gift, cherish it and keep it close by at all times. You never know when Rainesville could strike. Get The Weather Channel app, live according to the radar and learn to dance in the rain. Literally.
4. Preview Sessions
Don’t forget, your whole freshman class isn’t here yet. In fact, most of your fellow classmates have yet to go through Preview. And all the ones for fall students happen during Summer B. You might ask, “I already did Preview, what does this have to do with me?” It doesn’t. That’s the beauty of it. The longest 48 hours of your little Gator Life is long behind you, so on a Thursday or Friday afternoon, settle in Reitz and watch the masses go by. We all were excited to start Preview. But be honest with yourself for a minute: trying to get a handle on your schedule after numerous info sessions was exhausting, overwhelming and a tad stressful, so as the masses of your class passes you, play it cool. It’s okay to enjoy the fact that you’re at the same ranking as them, yet just a little ahead of the game. Smile, wave, kick back and enjoy being a “seasoned” freshman. Summer B rocks.
5. You’re in…COLLEGE.
That’s right, I just totally stated the obvious. But has it hit you yet? You are a Gator. I may be bias, but you are attending the best school in Florida. You are living on your own. You’re in college. Right now it might just look like a whole bunch of dirty laundry, microwave meals and wondering where your mom is…but give it a few weeks. You’ll quickly learn how awesome it is even with its ups and downs. For example, dorms may be cramped. But how many times in your life have you woken up, rolled over and be able to make your coffee without even getting out of bed? I’d be willing to bet zero times up until now. You may have a lot of studying to do, but guess what? The day, the week, is yours. You get to plan it. You can order a pizza at midnight and your mom won’t (*can’t*) yell at you. Is it overwhelming? Yes. Are the first two weeks crazy trying to figure out life on your own? Most likely. But don’t lose sight.
Summer B is unique opportunity. Get life as a Florida Gator under your belt before anyone else. Experience your first, most exciting, taste of college before the rest of the freshmen. But most of all, just enjoy it. You’ll get through that class and you’ll pass that test, I promise. You’re a Gator. It's Summer B. The best four years of your life are ahead of you. Get excited. Because being a part of Gator Nation? It doesn’t get any better.
Welcome to Summer B, Freshmen. This is the best time.
Lead Image Credit: Jordan Ellis