Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And while it's easy to focus on stuffing yourself on delicious turkey and your families famous sweet potatoes, finals are lurking quietly in the distance. Once we all get back into town after break, we will all be buckling down with the books and the chicken-scratched notes that aren't even legibly to you anymore.
I have given the library my fair share of tries. I've gone in the mornings, afternoons, and nights armed with a strong cup of coffee and ready to hunker down. But the eerie silence and occasional cough or flip of the page drives me insane. I feel bad even unzipping my backpack. Personally, the library is a hostile environment where I focus more on the volume of my actions instead of the words on the page.
I have spent the last few years perfecting my study locations. Some people excel in their dorm rooms, picnic tables scattered around campus, and others find that the Reitz provides the best study atmosphere.
This past weekend I lugged my heavy backpack to the Reitz, grabbed some Burger King, and cracked my textbook. I was there for three hours and accomplished absolutely everything I set out to do. I felt at ease to zip my backpack as I pleased, eat my burger and fries, and gulp as much water as I pleased.
Not to mention, whether you're an early bird or a night owl you can find a table or even a comfy couch to sprawl out on for hours. The Reitz isn't just a place to study on the weekends. It is also a great place to study in between your classes.
Next time your roommate decides she wants to watch T.V. all day long and you can't focus in your room, head over to the Reitz. There's also a Starbuck's to keep you up all night long!
Whether you're a wandering freshman or an experienced upperclassmen, it is always the right time to get involved and seek out clubs for all of your unique interests. With such a large university, it is easy to feel lost. These clubs help bring the environment down to a manageable number and you will begin networking and branching out before you know it. Finding out about the various opportunities can be a challenge in itself. There aren't always positions offered via email or a knock on your door. Instead, it takes more effort. Hit the pavement and you'll see what worlds open up.
The most useful place to start is right in the center of campus: the Reitz Union Colonnade. If you aren't sure where or what the colonnade is, just head to the right and find the covered pathway connecting the Union to Constans Theatre. Most of the time there are tons of people passing out flyers-- you will be in the right place. Sometimes these flyers may seem like a nuisance, but start reading them and you'll see how valuable they can be.
This past month there were more tables set up than you could begin to count ranging from a multitude of activities and areas of interest. The people sitting there are MORE than willing to help you so do not be shy to ask them what they are all about. They are there to help you.
For instance, over this past month two very different but equally interesting organizations could be found there all hours of the day. In order to celebrate and inform about Hispanic Heritage Month, a group of students hosted a table with free goodies, like cups. By stopping in, you would not only get these free treats you also have the chance to learn about the organization. They also had a dancer come out and teach some Hispanic steps. Also, the Student Government Association were set up for a tutoring fair. As you can see, the colonnade fulfills a wide range of needs. But the only way to truly understand is to stop by in between your classes and walk up to each and every table you are even remotely intrigued by.
It's as easy as that.
School has started and you are finally getting into your routine. You’re making new friends and finally getting a lay of the land. The only problem is those bare cement walls in your dorm or apartment. The key to making this year comfortable is making the room your own. Many people print pictures of their friends and family to make it all the more homey. But those big walls can’t decorate themselves.
These past two weeks, the Reitz Union Colonnade has been hosting a poster sale. Sponsored by the Programs, Arts, and Leisure, it is a great way to covert those walls. Posters costs under ten dollars, which is a steal. There are a range of different genres to pick depending on your interests. From movies, photography, celebrities, sports, and music there is something for everyone.
While you may have missed it this semester, have no fear and keep your eyes peeled for the next one down the road. I get a poster from the Colonnade every year, and so should you.
Inside the Reitz lies a wonderful place. A place where you can let the stress of studying go, a place where you can let your competitive nature thrive, and a place where you can simply let your inner child roam.
I discovered the Game Room what seems like eons ago during my first Summer B. As my new friends and I were sprawled out in the common room of our Hume floor, we opted for a more mellow night instead of getting dressed up to hit the town. Little did we know it would be far from a mellow night.
We headed to the Reitz, bought our lanes and our shoes, and you could feel the competition piercing the room. By some miracle, we had an even amount of people to spread out over a few bowling lanes.
The reason the Game Room is one of my favorite places is because the group that night was a mixture of some great friends, some friends I was getting closer with, and brand new friends I had only known for a week since starting UF. And somehow, over a round of bowling, all of these people have become true and long-lasting friends. After two years, we still hang out together and have become way closer than I could have ever imagined that first night at the Reitz.
Games are a great way to break the awkward newness of a fresh friendship. It gives you the chance to crack jokes, make fun of yourself when you slip down the bowling lane, and engage in a little healthy competition. It's always a wonderful way to enjoy your longer friendships.
If bowling isn't your thing, you can always play a good old game of billiards or foosball.
They offer tournaments, clinics, leisure courses, and leagues in both billiards and bowling. This is a great way to perfect your game and hang out with friends. Registration for leagues and courses is at the start of every semester.
Before you head out, check out the Game Room page on the Union website to check the hours of operations (typically they are open until midnight Monday to Thursday, and until 1:00AM Friday to Saturday) and the special rates they offer daily.
Bowling, per game per person
■$3.50 for UF Students
■$4.00 for Non-UF Students
■Shoes $2.50 per pair
Billiards, per table per hour
■$6.00 for UF Students
■$7.00 for Non-UF Students
For more information, check out: https://www.union.ufl.edu/ProgramsArtsLeisure/GameRoom
The time has finally come. You’re all moved into your dorm, your parents have left, and you are ready to begin reenacting scenes from Van Wilder. Try again. That stack of freshly sealed textbooks on your desk only means on thing- school starts tomorrow and you should probably start figuring out how you’re going to run across campus to make it to them on time. The good news is that whether you’re a newbie or a returning Gator, you will never quite master where every building is. The maze that is Turlington Hall will continue to confuse even the most skilled of seniors.
You will soon realize that there is a big list of differences between high school and college. That’s the beauty of it, after all. But it will take a while to manage the adjustments and get into a routine that works for you. Personally, it took me awhile to get used to not having class back to back. Trust me, I am not complaining. But sometimes you get stuck with a schedule with a class during Periods 4 and 6, and nothing to do for fifty minutes in between.
This was always the worst. Fifty minutes is just quick enough where you can’t head back to the dorm and take a nap, and just long enough where you get bored sitting on a bench. You have to start thinking up clever ways to spend your time. On the first day of Summer B classes, I encountered the dreaded gap between classes. I was too shy at that point to sit on a bench and play games on my phone or read a book so I took the wandering approach. I let my feet lead me and I ended up at the Reitz Union – a place I grew familiar with thanks to Preview. As soon as the doors opened you could hear the sounds of friends talking, students eating, and the bustle of people nervous to find their classroom. I walked through the restaurants to a place of quiet- the bookstore. This would become the place I would spend time. I would walk the aisles checking out the latest Gator gear or stocking up on supplies I needed to hold me over until I could beg a friend to drive me to Archer Road.
As the semester continued, I made friends in my first class. Then it became a group of us with nothing to do for fifty minutes. If you’re following the story, then you can guess the rest. It became a herd of students killing time at the Bookstore together. We tried on all the hats, would buy snacks there, and starting the ever-growing collection of Gator shirts we would eventually acquire. It has also become a one-stop shop for Christmas presents. I am going into my third year here, and my Dad will be getting his third Gator shirt this coming December. But I will warn you, if you have not yet caught Gator Fever, beware.
Instagram or Tweet a photo of yourself wearing the Beat the Heat tank top around campus with the hashtag #BeatTheHeatGN for a chance to win a free Kindle Fire. Get creative with your location…outside the stadium, at Turlington Plaza, in the Reitz Union, etc. Contest closes on May 31, 2013.
Didn’t get a tank top yet? The first 50 students at GatorNights on May 17, 2013 will receive a free tank top.