University of Florida
BackgroundInterview Date:January 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2022
High School Experience: Public school in Brooksville, FL with a graduating class of about 430 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Extracurricular Activities: Club wrestling, intramural sports, Gator Virtual Reality, and Gator Motor Sports
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
Not yet, but I think they will. In terms of gaining knowledge about the college, I spoke with one individual in Gator VR and helped me figure out my mindset in college. In the long-run, I think they will all help.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Last semester I was in a lot of big lecture hall classes so I had a lot more exams. This semester I have more group classes, so I only have one true exam. My classes are more class activity based. I’ll have to do Calculus homework, SolidWorks applications, and computer design work. I also have group work in one of my engineering classes where we build things and do some computer programming.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It depends on the class. When I was in the big lecture hall classes, it was pretty competitive. Now it seems more collaborative because I’m in a lot of group classes. It’s competitive because the classes were really hard and the exams were heavily weighted, so you had to do well on them or you’d fail.
How accessible have your professors been?
They’re accessible. They have a good amount of office hours. You can talk with them after class, but it’s not very easy to meet with them outside of class.
Why did you pick your major?
I picked Mechanical Engineering because I’ve always been around cars and motorcycles growing up and worked with tools a lot with my dad. I figured I could do that for a career and make money, and also thought it would be something I would enjoy and be successful in. I know I want to stick with engineering but I’m not sure if I will stick with mechanical. I think I will, but I’m not completely sure.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Lakeside Residential Complex with four roommates in an apartment-style dorm. I have my own room and share a bathroom with one other person.
How was transitioning from the Brooksville to Gainesville?
It wasn’t that difficult for me figuring I live about an hour and a half away. It wasn’t terrible because I’m doing more things on my own than I was at home, but I can still go home whenever I want.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Very safe. I’ve never experienced any serious concerns. They have the Blue Light System everywhere you look. I feel that I can walk around at night and not feel in any danger.
Pros and Cons of being in Gainesville, FL?
Pros: (1) It’s a compact area. There are a lot of people to meet and things to do nearby because it’s a small college town.
(2) The small size of the town brings everybody together.
(3) There is a lot of cool springs and nature around the campus. It’s a very green campus that I like.
Cons: (1) Sometimes there is a lack of things to do.
(2) Traffic can be tough around Gainesville.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
There are a lot of nightclubs here to go to that I like. There are also Greek life parties and some good movie theaters around here.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out? Are there certain things you do on certain nights?
During the week I sit around or hang out with friends. I don’t go out every weekend, and if I do go out I’ll go out on the weekends to a club. There are 18+ clubs in Gainesville.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I don’t know much about it since I’m not in a frat. They have parties, but they can be selective about who can enter. It’s not a necessity at all to have a good time. I don’t feel the need to join Greek life, but I probably would if I had the money to.
What is an alternative to going to a party or a club that you like for a night out?
I’ll go do something with friends, like get food or ice cream around campus. We’ll sometimes drive to Orlando or Tampa, or even drive to the East Coast of the peninsula.
How happy were you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
For where I’ve been, I’ve been pretty satisfied. The clubs aren’t the nicest, like, the clubs are the typical run-down college clubs, but I don’t mind that.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them through a class and they then branched me out to other friends. My closest friend here is my roommate who I knew from high school.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think pretty well because I’m friends with a lot of Hispanic and Black students. If you want to mix with others, you can.
How do you like the size of Florida in terms of undergraduate enrollment? [University of Florida has about 36,400 undergraduate students.]
It’s not as big as I expected but still feels pretty large. It’s large enough that it’s pretty fun. I didn’t feel any culture shock coming down and it wasn’t a very drastic change from normality.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Florida before entering as a freshman?
Being in a dorm doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have a super social dorm where you meet a ton of people. Because I was in an apartment style dorm, I didn’t meet a bunch of people in my building.
What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the coolest things on campus.
Reasons to attend University of Florida:
1) The school spirit is insane.
2) You feel welcome on campus.
3) The education is very, very good.
4) There are so many clubs that you can join that are specific to what you’re interested in.
5) If you want to join Greek life, that’s a big thing here.
Reasons to not attend University of Florida:
1) The class sizes can get pretty large. [In the 2017-2018 academic year there were 219 classes with 100 or more students and 31% of all classes had 30 students or more.]
2) Gainesville is a typical college town and there is pretty much nothing outside of it.