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University of Florida

University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 (352) 392-3261 Congratulations! If you are on this page, you have a UF student! Read on to find out the inside scoop! Pass on these great tips, tell your friends and like us on Facebook and Instagram. Sign up for other great tips at www.haveuheard.com.

Career Showcase

A Student Perspective Sometimes the thought of choosing a career is scary. Attending a career showcase is important for all students no matter what year because it helps prepare students and gives them confidence when actually applying for jobs. My advisor always says, “You don’t want your first time at career showcase to be when you need a job.” I went for the first time in the spring of my freshman year. I was so nervous and I had no idea what to wear. My friend and I showed up in what we thought was business attire and were immediately overwhelmed by the number of people and lines at the O’Connell Center. We grabbed a map and began wandering around with no plan. We waited in line at Exxon and Frito-Lay to talk to the recruiters. They both said that they were happy that we started going to career showcase freshman year […]

Calendar of Events and Important Dates for UF

HaveUHeard brings you a calendar list of events and important dates for the students and parents of the University of Florida. We would love to list every event but are posting just the major ones here. For more in-depth calendar views here’s a link to the official events calendar page. For a full list of sporting events, click here. For a list of UF Performing Arts events, click here. HUH – UF Calendar FEBRUARY 2020 February 24, 2020-SGP Presents Tory Lanez @7:30 pm February 28, 2020 – UF Admissions Decisions Released, 6:00pm February 29 – March 8, 2020 – Spring Break MARCH 2020 February 29 – March 8, 2020- Spring Break March 1, 2020 – Last day to register for Birthright through UF. March 9, 2020 – Classes Resume March 11, 2020 – Summer Experience Fair, 10 am- 2 pm @ Reitz Union Hotel March 21, 2020 – The Big Event 2020  […]

Graduation Restaurant Reservations

Great Places to Celebrate Do you really make your restaurant reservations now? Graduation is a time to celebrate and a celebration requires a nice meal, a nice meal needs a reserved spot! UF holds graduation ceremonies three times per year with May being the largest ceremony, with a university-wide ceremony at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and individual college ceremonies.  Fall 2019 graduation is the weekend of December 13th and Spring 2020 is the weekend of May 1st (April 30th if they are getting their doctorate).  Hopefully, you have read our hotel blog and made your hotel reservations. But if you are coming up with your entire family, you may want to reserve your favorite restaurant in plenty of time as many of the restaurants get extremely busy especially for fall and more so for spring. Summer graduation is typically much smaller in size. To help you out, we are listing the restaurants that […]

Tax Time

Tax time is Always Right Around the Corner! Taxes, we have to admit, are not fun but necessary. As you are preparing your return or having a CPA prepare your return, do not forget to take advantage of the Education Tax Credits available which can help offset the cost of your student’s education. Two Credits Available There are two tax credits available to take, The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. The AOTC (American Opportunity Tax Credit) was made permanent by the Protecting Americans from the Tax Hikes Act signed in 2015. The AOTC allows credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. The AOTC/Lifetime Learning credits are based on the payment of “qualified tuition and related expenses.” These are the expenses for tuition and academic fees that are required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Qualified tuition and related expenses do not […]


What is  – FAFSA? First Applicants Find Substantial Assets, of course! FAFSA is the national Free Application for Federal Student Aid but, based on how aid is distributed. Because aid is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, every student that hopes to receive aid for college must fill out this form to even be considered. Every college has its own deadline. Beginning with 2017-2018, students were able to file using prior-prior year (PPY) tax data. As a result of this change, you could submit the FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year on October 1, 2018, using your 2017 tax and income information. (Summer applicants for 2019 need  to submit a 2018-2019 application using the 2016 tax and income information). If you have not done so already, you will also need to complete that year’s application as well.  In addition, if an amended return was filed, the IRS will notify the individual financial […]

Off Campus Living

Economical to Extravagant Off-Campus Living Just a few months in from your freshman starting college and they already bring up the subject of where they want to live the following year. HUH?? By December, they are ready to sign a lease.  It’s hard to imagine making a decision so early. However, the demand for living in certain areas is definitely driving the need to sign early. Your student’s take and talk on the subject will be all about specific apartments and their appeal, but what you want to know is “What’s the rent?”, “Is that apartment in a safe area?, and “Does it come with parking?” There will also be questions you may not even have thought to ask. One of the newest and perhaps, by far, most extravagant apartment complexes to open across the street from the UF campus comes with a rooftop infinity pool, cabanas and lounge, a gym, racquetball […]

Make the Call to Admissions to Get Answers

If You’re Worried Then Call… Typically, on the second Friday in February, the UF Admissions department comes out with their acceptance letters. My older daughter, my niece and my nephew all applied the same year. That made the acceptance date even more nerve-wracking as my sisters and I all waiting anxiously, wondering if all three would get accepted or perhaps none, or a combination. As it turned out, two of the three got accepted, making that day bittersweet. While my sister and I were elated that our daughters got in, we felt bad for my sister whose son did not get accepted. Fast forward 8 years later and my sister would readily admit now that her son did not necessarily meet their qualifications. But back then, they both were devastated and she did call admissions. Of course, this is for students that have been denied admission or been accepted into one of […]

Favorite Apartment Rentals

Favorite Apartment Rentals Here are some great tips about our favorite apartment rentals. In my case, neither of my daughters stayed in the dorms beyond their freshman year. My youngest has lived in Oxford Terrace for the past two years because she loves the location, the rent is reasonable, and the bedrooms — each with their own bathroom — are a nice size. Plus, she hates moving. However, now that she’s heading into her senior year, she and four of her friends (like many seniors) are moving into a five-bedroom house practically across the street from her current apartment. In Gainesville, the rentals are plentiful. Below are some of the more popular apartment complexes students live in near UF. Some provide buses to campus (which can be super important since parking on campus can be a nightmare), some have facilities that rival a fancy hotel (pools, hot tubs, volleyball courts, lounges), some […]

They’ve Been Accepted, Now What?

They’ve Been Accepted Congratulations Class of 2024… YOU’VE BEEN ACCEPTED! It IS great to be a Florida Gator for so many reasons. You can all now take that deep sigh of relief that your student’s decision has been made and then take a look at our list of what to do next. While this may sound silly, first check your student’s admission letter for accuracy regarding their name, entrance term, address, and major. If any changes need to be made it needs to happen in writing or online at myUFL. When they applied, your student would have received a UF identification number (ID) which can be found on their application status page. When I went to UF, they used our social security number, but that’s no longer the case so as to further protect a student’s privacy. Next, they will create their Gator identity via a digital username which will both give […]

Bright Futures

The Future Is So Bright You’ll Need Shades! SEE END OF BLOG FOR CHANGES EFFECTIVE WITH THE 2020-2021 ACADEMIC SCHOOL YEAR Bright Futures has been a great source of financial aid for many Florida Students and is now shining even brighter. Summer 2018 was the first-year Florida Academic Scholars received 100% tuition and summer 2019, 75% of tuition is available for Florida Medallion Scholars. The $300 college-related expense stipend is still only available for fall and spring semesters. The requirements for summer are as follows Must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours across all summer sessions. Students with less than 6 credit hours required for graduation, may receive FAS and FMS by submitting a memo on letterhead from an academic advisor indicating less than 6 hours are required for graduation. Graduate-level hours may be approved by the student’s academic advisor.  Students taking graduate-level courses must submit a memo from […]

Orange and Blue Debut

It’s Gator time! Now that the Gators have a new football coach, the spring game will return to its Saturday tradition. The Orange & Blue Game is a full scrimmage football practice. There is open seating so plan on arriving early for some of the best seats you may get for the UF Football Game. This year’s Orange & Blue Debut will take place on Saturday, April 18th. Kick-off time has not yet been announced. Previous years had the traditional Gator Walk, a Pep Rally, Food Trucks and many other events. In addition to the football game, there are many other UF sports teams that will be playing that weekend including baseball, lacrosse, and tennis. Students will be a few weeks away from finals so it is most likely the last opportunity for them to enjoy Gator sports before holing up in the library. Don’t forget to dress in your Gators’ attire.  […]

Sending A Package to Your Student?

Make Sure Your Package Gets There For all the many reasons that a student receives a package, most of them are a welcome highlight to their day. Whether it is just their usual Amazon delivery or a care package for midterms or even because your student is under the weather, it’s good to know a few things that will make package delivery simpler. If you have a student living on campus, UF utilizes package lockers. This allows students to pick up their packages anytime, day or night, 24/7. Students receive an email when their package is delivered to their area locker with two codes to pick up their items. We actually recommend using UPS (or FedEx) in comparison to USPS as it is just timelier, especially for in-state shipping. Typically, if you are sending packages from one Florida location to another, it arrives in one day at no additional fee (barring any […]

Storage UF, where does the stuff go?

Where Will They Put All Their Stuff? Can you put it in storage? That time between semesters when they want to bring everything home for a few weeks or summer and you are wondering (a) how you will get it all there and (b) where you are going to store it all. I remember my daughter’s freshman year. I drove up to get her and when we finished packing the car with barely enough room for our bodies and the car feeling as though it was skimming the pavement, I wondered if her belongings seemed to multiply over the past 10 months. Then when we began unloading everything into the garage, sorting out what could stay in our hot garage for the summer and what needed to find space in the house, I became a bit flustered. Well, not panicky, but I did begin to dream of those people that come to […]

First Time Student Loan Borrower?

You’ll Need to Do This. What is the Entrance Counseling? In July of 2016, the U.S. Department of Education made it a requirement that, in order to have student loans disbursed, all students must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This counseling includes information needed to successfully repay the federal student loans they will be receiving to help pay for college costs. You can get more information here. If you have not previously received a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), the federal government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming. You must complete entrance counseling before you can receive the proceeds of your first Direct Loan. If you are completing entrance counseling to borrow as an undergraduate student, then the entrance counseling will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. If you are completing entrance […]

Choosing or Changing Your Major

You can change your mind and your major! Considering the University of Florida offers a multitude of degrees; how is one to choose? Most students begin college with some idea of what they want to study, but it is not uncommon for them to change majors. My own children; I have two, considered changing their major but, after seeing how far behind it would put them, chose to add a minor to round out their degree. Changing and choosing a major isn’t always easy. There are several ways you can support your student as they are trying to decide or consider changing a major. One of the main reasons students reconsider or hesitate to declare a major is because they do not understand the career options associated with it. Encourage your students to search the undergraduate catalog to see what courses are required in majors that are interesting to them. They should […]

Spring Break

Letting Off Steam before Finals Mention Spring Break to most parents and immediate visions of lawless partying comes to mind. I get it. I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, the original Spring Break destination. As a high school student, my friends and I would drive up and down “The Strip” watching all of the college kids dancing, sunbathing and letting loose. When we were finally in college, we spent our days at the beach and our nights on The Strip. UF Spring Break this year is February 29th through March 8th. While we parents might be looking forward to some time with our students, they may — well, probably do — have other plans. I just thought I would give you that heads up; it’s not uncommon for students to go away with their friends for Spring Break. For those of you who have students living (and wanting to remain) on-campus, it’s […]

Budget 101

Asking for Money? I can vividly remember being in college and having to make the dreaded call home to my father to ask for money. My parents had three daughters at UF at the same time so finances were a sensitive subject. This was before cell phones (think wall corded phones) and, dare I say it, before the internet. Banking required you to wait for the statement to arrive in the mail. My father, who happened to also be a CPA, would go through each statement to see where we were spending our money. And, he felt they gave us a reasonable amount to make it through the month (with three daughters to support at college, monthly deposits worked for them). Since we only spoke once a week (again, no such thing as texting, emails or cell phones), having to mention needing money was not exactly what they wanted to talk about. During […]

Ready for The Next Four Years

Are U Ready For The Next Four Years? So you have a student ready to spend the next four years at UF? That means you will undoubtedly be visiting once or twice. If you have never been to Gainesville, you may have a preconceived idea about this college town from looking online. Or you may know very little. Like any college town, it is not a sprawling metropolis but it is not a barren town either. Here, you will find almost every major box store, almost every chain restaurant from fast food to quick service to full service plus many newer independents, shopping malls, hotels, and grocery stores. What U Should Know About UF The University of Florida dates back to 1853 when the state-funded East Florida Seminary took over the Kingsbury Academy in Ocala. The seminary moved to Gainesville in the 1860s and later was consolidated with the state’s land-grant Florida […]

Meal Plan and Other Ways to Eat

Burgers and Pizza and Fries…Oh my! A Guide to Meal Plans With college right around the corner, I see you fearfully envisioning your student’s diet as one of  burgers and pizza and fries, oh my! Yes, we’ve been making meals for our kids for as long as we can remember. (So, quite frankly, we might welcome a break.) And yes, some of our kids have learned how to cook or even to enjoy doing so. But most have come to rely on their meals being ready the minute you — or their stomach — yells “Dinnertime!” NOW what will happen? Before you get ready to go on a cooking, packaging, and labeling frenzy to send food with them, just STOP. I’m  here to assure you that college food has indeed changed since many of us went to college. That’s not to say they won’t still be tempted by the same fast foods […]

Orientation, You can Do It Yourself

I Remember When… I remember when my daughter was attending UF Orientation a few years ago. This was my second go-around yet I was still wildly excited for her.  She had attended when her sister was accepted and she was only 13 years old. We laughed about how bored she was sitting all day in the Reitz Union fidgeting and playing with her phone. Flash forward 4 years (which flew by) and now she is graduating. As both a gator grad myself and the mom of two gator grads, going to orientation with your student has a lot of benefits. For one, when it comes to attending the breakout sessions, she wanted to go to Study Abroad. Since her sister did not study abroad, this at least gave me an idea of what she wanted to do during her time at UF. It gave me the chance to watch her navigate orientation […]

Making the Most of Summer B

Summer can be the best season ever! Ask any older Gator what their favorite semester has been so far and, without a doubt, most (if not all), will tell you it was freshman year Summer B. It’s a summer filled with so many firsts. First college lecture, first college party, the first college friend and so on. Even though going off to college for the first time is certainly a bit daunting, UF does a great job of easing the transition to college life. A great resource for me during my freshman summer was my RA (resident assistant). She was super personable and quickly became a friend. I asked her all kinds of questions – from how to get to class to what to wear to parties – and she always had an answer. She lived only a few doors down from my room and her door was always open to her […]

Care Packages – Because Sometimes They Get Sick

You can close the distance with care! I don’t know about you but when they call to say they are sick, the miles between home and school seem even longer. My daughter was very sick during the spring semester. She could barely get out of bed and I checked on her frequently throughout the day. I even offered to drive up if she needed me to. This was not an everyday cold; she sounded miserable and I knew she felt the same. But she said she would be fine and stuck it out, staying in bed for over a week. You would be amazed at how quickly a care package can get to them. (UPS is generally overnight from one Florida destination to another.) Depending on what is ailing them, even the simplest of care packages filled with soft tissues, lozenges, some Kind bars, Emergen-C, a few fun teas, Sudafed, Clorox wipes, […]

Dress for Success and be ready for Adulting!

Time to look the part! As they get closer to graduation, one of the greatest changes our students are about to experience is abandoning their shorts, t-shirts and yoga pants, as they begin to dress for success in their new roles, or as my older daughter stated, for adulting. Dressing for success can be daunting in different ways, but the one that stands out most may very well be its cost. Starting with the career and internship fairs students are attending, students need to look professional. For the young men, this may mean a suit and tie and for the young women, while they have more options, it may mean a suit, pantsuit, skirt, and blouse or dress. That’s not to mention shoes. For students who may not have the means to go and purchase a new outfit, UF has the Gator Career Closet, a lending service where students can borrow professional […]

What U Should Do Before Heading to UF

Before you leave! Before you leave to take your kid to college, there are a few items you will want to take care of that are extremely important. Although a few are younger, most college students are 18, which means they are considered legal adults. With that comes a whole lot of independence — expected or unexpected — from their parents, regardless of who is footing the bill for their education. Unless they give you permission or their login information, you will be unable to access their health records, grades, and pretty much anything that has HPPA laws behind it. Talk to your student about signing the necessary permission for the college to speak with you. Make certain they understand that without that signed permission, everything — and we mean everything — pertaining to the college, from medical records to financial aid, cannot be discussed with any other person besides themselves. While […]

Home Sweet Dorm

Is It Home Yet? You may be surprised at how one can transition a mass-produced, industrial-looking dorm room into a warm and inviting room/suite. And there is plenty of help out there to spur ideas and help you organize. Organization is the primary concern, because after all if your kids are anything like mine, they will take enough stuff from home to settle them in as though there are no laundry facilities or stores in the vicinity. Pinterest alone has enough ideas to make your head spin.  Of course, decorating for a girl’s room is drastically different from a boy, but both will need a little extra organization. Either way, check the size bed their dorm will provide. They are usually those extra-long twin beds and many stores start selling these sheet sets over the summer just for this purpose. The bed-in-a-bag can be a great choice as it provides many pieces […]

Move Out Now?

Time to Move On… Moving out can be almost as hectic as moving into the dorms and apartments. You are typically assigned a move out time to keep the flow smooth. It did not make sense for us to drag the entire dorm supplies home for the summer, only to send them back up in the fall. We opted to have her rent an air-conditioned storage facility with friends. You may be lucky in that your student may have a friend that will let them store their belongings in their apartment but that is unusual. She was able to move her belongings into storage herself by getting boxes and packing up her dorm. There were items that she no longer needed (nor did we want). Most dorms collect these items in a common area and donate them to a local community collection organization. If it is in decent shape, then it does […]

Care Packages That Really Help

Special Care – Care Packages When my older daughter left for UF, I wavered between giving her space to find her way and wanting to hear all about her life at college. This was before social media documented almost every move she made. Sure there were some posts on her Facebook page, but I missed her terribly and we were still adjusting to our new family dynamic. How could you spend eighteen years making your kids your priority and then watch them leave and not feel a sharp pang of sadness? As days went by (felt like weeks), I decided that I was not going to stand on ceremony so I sent her a text saying “Would love to catch up. Miss you <3 emoji.”  In time, we did adjust to it being the three of us.  But her four years flew by and her sister’s turn came to leave. And, here […]

Are You a Pre-Med Major?

Tips every pre-med student should know! Planning on going to medical school one day? If so, here are a few things that I wish I knew as a pre-med freshman at the University of Florida: University of Florida culture of “pre-medical” students is very competitive. In the 2018-2019 cycle, UF produced the most undergraduate medical school applicants to Doctor of Osteopathic Medical Schools in the nation. With that being said, these three tips are useful to know: Stand out among your classmates, and the best way to do that is to be passionate about where you spend your time. Many pre-med students become obsessive about getting the “most volunteer hours” or joining a club for the sake of joining because you think it will, “look good.” This is a trap. When it comes time to write your personal statement for medical school applications, reflecting back on the 3 to 4 years you have […]

Banks and Credit Unions at UF

Many Places to Grab Money, Banks Galore! Leaving for college comes with so many new things, but handling their own money can be one of the scariest. We have all kinds of suggestions regarding Working While in College, and even the dreaded conversation about Teaching Them to Budget but this blog is all about banking. Both of my daughters opening up a student account with UF’s banking partner, Wells Fargo. While mine and their personal bank account were with a different bank that was not in Gainesville until recently, having a Wells Fargo account allowed me to keep their college expenses separate which I did for budgeting and tax purposes. I chose not to link their Gator 1 card as one daughter tended to lose more cards (think driver’s licenses, debit cards, and so forth), so I did not want to have another person using her Gator 1 card. UF can easily any […]

Need Advice About Your College Career?

A Guide to Getting Advice As a fourth-year college student at the University of Florida, the best semesters were the ones in which I created my schedule and hand-picked each class. The goal for my undergraduate education has been to get the most from each class, choose professors that had the best rating, learn many new things, and meet great people along the way. Each semester, I wanted to craft my schedule to fit my goals while balancing extracurricular activities, work, and academic challenges. For any student that has a goal for their time in college, having an open line of communication with his or her academic advisor for advice is a great start. Getting an appointment with an academic advisor in large colleges such as the College of Liberal Arts and Science and Heavener College of Business can be difficult at times, however, taking these steps may help to get the […]

Good Advice To My Freshman Self

Advice Every Freshman Should Know Starting a new experience like College, its best to get some good advice. Being a senior in high school you know the ropes, all of the Do’s and Don’ts, teachers, coaches, and are comfortably familiar with the campus. It is a time to celebrate four hard years in high school and excitedly await the next chapter in life. Upon acceptance to college, a flood of new questions arises as you are a small fish in the big pond and unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of your new school. After your dorm and meal plans are submitted, your academic schedule is planned, and your new books and pencils are set to be used for the semester, the logistics of everyday life on your new campus can be overwhelming. A few pieces of advice I would give my freshman-self are: Find a mentor. Having a mentor will be […]

Money, Money, Money

When Will Financial Aid Money Disburse? The time has come to pay for your college costs and panic sets in.  I remember receiving the tuition statement for my daughter, yet her student account showed no Prepaid Florida (which I was fortunate enough to have purchased for both 4-year college and 1-year dorm).  In addition, her bank account did not reflect her Bright Futures Scholarship funds. So when does this money get disbursed? Can you get a deferral for books, living accommodations, and student fees until the disbursement comes? For your student’s specific account details, you should have them log into their account at myUFL. HaveUHeard that UF encourages all students receiving financial aid to sign up for a direct deposit? To sign up, go to myUFL and select “Access myUFL” to log in. On the top toolbar, select “Main Menu.” Choose “My Campus Finances,” then “Student Direct Deposit.” Here are some financial […]

Lunch Bunch

Mid-Day Munchies- what’s for lunch? The best part of lunch is the break it gives you in the middle of the day! But it’s even better when you’re enjoying the meal as well. Like any college town or city, there are literally hundreds of dining options in Gainesville from fast food to fast-casual, from family-style to fine dining. The more time my daughter spends there, the more places to eat we have discovered. (Food is a big draw for us, can you tell?) Some are old favorites from when her sister was a Gator undergrad. Some are happy new finds that have quickly become habit-forming.  No matter which direction your taste buds or price preferences are pointing, you will find your share of burgers, pizza, Mexican, Asian, barbecue, sushi, salads, and Mediterranean cuisine. And more! Of course, if you are in a hurry, Croutons and Pollo Tropical can both be found in […]

Football Seats in The Swamp at UF

A Guide to The Swamp! Everyone should get to at least one Gator football game. Or, perhaps you want to get season tickets. One of the keys to making it great, however; is knowing where to sit. For instance, the blazing sun can make a big difference in the fun factor of a game. Here are some thoughts about the best seats for football games. University of Florida’s, “The Swamp,” is one of the largest and loudest stadiums in college football. Attending any home Florida Gator football game throughout the fall semester is an incredible experience and one you should not miss. Despite the exciting sights and sounds of The Swamp, the Florida heat is inevitable, so, here are a few insider tips to have the best football experience: Know the layout of the stadium. Sections 1-18 are typically the parent and alumni section and face East. This portion of the stadium […]

Brunch is Breakfast plus Lunch plus Fun

“Brunch is breakfast without an alarm.” — Unknown Most college kids sleep late. It’s a well-known fact. So, going out for breakfast, particularly on weekends, may not be an option. Brunch, however, is generally a great option on weekends, with quite a few enticing choices not far from UF’s campus. If you are one of those rare parents with both a fondness for breakfast and a student who is an early riser (or perhaps is still up), then check out our blog Wakey, Wakey Eggs & Bakey.  If you’re more in line with the rest of us, then start by considering your price and time parameters as you contemplate where to brunch from our list below. And be aware that it is not unusual for there to be a considerable wait, even with a reservation, at some of the more popular selections on a game or graduation weekend. Brunch… Afternoon – Located […]

An Insider’s Guide to Campus Dorm Living at UF

We have the inside scoop on places to live on Campus! You can certainly read about the dorms and where to live on campus on the UF Housing and Residence Education pages, but we asked my daughter and our interns for the inside scoop…which is probably what you really want to know before you choose where to live when you become a Gator. Here’s what they had to say: Coming into college, I thought it was going to be the end of the world living in Mallory Hall, but it ended up being so much better than I thought. As a freshman coming into Summer B I wanted to live in Cypress Hall. Cypress was much newer and has full-sized beds. Although I did not get what I wanted, living in Mallory played a huge role in the friends and memories I made during my freshman year. My roommate was a girl […]

Sick at School

Mom…… I’m sick…..It’s bound to happen.  At some point, the phone will ring and your mature, independent college student will cry “I don’t feel well.”  Hopefully, their illness will be a result of their new-found independence that includes lack of sleep, exercise, stress, an unhealthy diet and hygiene habits that don’t embrace enough hand-washing and can be cured quickly and easily. I sent my daughters to school with a “things you may need that Mom thought of just in case” box. Inside was a thermometer; vitamins,  the medicines that they used at home for symptoms of a cold; sinus infection; stomach ache or other common ailments.  Sometimes they need care beyond your box. In my experience, my kids and I have had great results taking Source Naturals Wellness Formula.  It has been a strong herbal defense supplement in fighting an illness that was recommended to me by a local natural health food store. Two […]

Get Involved

Get Involved With an undergraduate enrollment of over 35,000, spanning over 2,000 acres, UF is huge. That massive size means that students should find a way to make this university feel a bit smaller. Some students will choose to rush a sorority or fraternity (see sorority blog here and fraternity blog here) but others will not find Greek life their cup of tea. No worries; there are many other possible ways to get involved on campus. Some of you may believe that your student’s first job is school, and I couldn’t agree more. That said; being involved in some way is rather important too. Firstly, joining a club will help your students build a community. Since they’re leaving their family and sometimes their friends behind, getting involved helps them to discover new friends with similar interests. It only takes a few friends to make a large school feel smaller. Joining clubs or […]

Grocery Stores

Let’s Eat For groceries, those of you from Florida or Georgia will be familiar with the major supermarket chain Publix. Publix is a Florida-based supermarket with every department found in most grocery stores including produce, deli, meats, canned goods, seafood, frozen foods, flowers, bread, soda, and stationery, candy, dairy and so forth. Publix recently opened a smaller location directly across from the UF campus with prepared foods like bento bowls, Florida-produced grocery items, and a Starbucks cafe. This smaller location hopes to compete against restaurants for students’ dining-out dollars. The other major chain supermarkets you will find in Gainesville include The Fresh Market and cult-followed Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods is also open at the recently renovated Butler Plaza on Archer Road. In addition to its fresh produce, seafood, meat department, and prepared food section, it will also have create-your-own acai bowls, a macaroni bar, and a hot food station. What is new […]

Grad School Housing is More Grown Up!

Because Grad School Needs Are Different For students heading to Grad School, finding an apartment if they are going to a different university entails completely different criteria. My niece and our interns all recently switched universities from where they went for undergrad. Grad School housing comes with its own unique challenges. With expensive tuition and long study sessions, the last thing they need to worry about is finding an apartment near the University of Florida to call home. Gainesville has a wide-range of graduate student apartments from quiet and cozy to large and luxurious. UF does have several halls that accept graduate students. Those would be Corry Village, Diamond Village, Maguire Village, Tanglewood Village, The Continuum and University Village South. Off-Campus Apartments – Recommended for Students Law Students Apartments: Arbor Lofts – 321 SW 13th street Gainesville – 1 bedroom, studio, and 1BR plus den Ashton Lane – 1008 SW 5th Ave, […]

Fun Classes When You Need an Elective

What Students Wish They Took Today, universities have students declare a major almost immediately. That’s not to say they cannot change their major but, once a student is following their course track, it can become more difficult to switch as they progress further into their major. And for those students that love their major, they often opt to take other classes within their college major instead of exploring all the different electives that are available.  But, sometimes students’ schedules are just so stress-packed that an easy, fun, and exciting elective is the perfect way to round out a schedule. Electives can serve many purposes: fulfill an individual’s major requirement, supplement more rigorous courses to complete a minor, fill a schedule, or simply to have great learning fun. The following electives offer lots of fun choices: Arts & Crafts Ceramics: Beginning Throwing Ceramics: Hand-building Decorative Pots for Plants Craft Workshops: Make It and […]

Managing the Gap, when they are in between

Where Will They Live During the Gap? Although it feels like you just moved your students into their dorms, you now have to move them out. The worst part, aside from the grueling heat, is that some may be returning in just a few weeks to move back in somewhere. And, if they have to be back early in August, whether it be another dorm, sorority or fraternity house or an apartment, having to schlep their stuff back home to return in just a few weeks seems a little silly. I know how many carloads it took to get our daughter moved in and, frankly, I am not prepared to rent a U-Haul to get her home and back again. So, my first piece of advice is to recommend that they start bringing things home if they are making any trips home between now and the end of the semester or if […]

Eating Healthy when you are a student

OK to be Eating…Healthy! As with other college campuses, the amount of burger, pizza, and fast-food restaurants at and surrounding the UF campus is a big reason for the Freshman 15. This is no surprise considering so many students live on a tight budget. But today’s college students are demanding higher quality foods, varied in taste and economically priced. There are several apps that many students can download to find the latest promotions and deals at some of their favorite places. These apps include Hooked and Pocket Points. Granted, sometimes nothing can take the place of a cheesy, greasy slice of pizza or a juicy hamburger. Comfort food is just that, after all. But for those students that want more of their food fast but healthy, UF students have many options. Some of UF students’ favorites include: ReFresh Food Co. – Formerly Three Natives, it is located in Midtown on West University […]

Study Abroad UF

Study Abroad? Not all classrooms have four walls. The best often have no walls. Nowhere is this more evident than with the growing number of students that study abroad. This is one of the programs you WILL hear about from your student — I heard about it from my younger Gator before she even started her first semester — and many students start their college years planning for such an experience. In (once again) another sign of generational change, I did not have all that many friends that went abroad when I was in college. My older daughter, who has already graduated from UF, chose not to study abroad because she did not want to miss a full Gainesville semester.  Looking back, she has said it is one of her regrets now that she has seen her younger sister’s Study Abroad experience in Madrid. I first learned about study abroad through UF […]

Health Insurance

The Plan for Insurance Students at many colleges today must have a health insurance plan that meets their University’s minimum requirement. HaveUHeard that if you forget to submit the waiver that is required to show that your student is covered under your medical plan, the University will purchase an insurance plan for your student? Even knowing this, my daughter still forgot to submit a waiver. (Yeah, forgetting things happens — even with our smart, collegiate kids!) When she received her Bright Futures deposit for that semester and I questioned why it was so low, it took a bit of questioning, querying, and sifting through the allocation of funds to learn that that was, indeed, exactly what had happened. When I spoke to someone at the university (which I was able to do because my daughter had signed the appropriate permission), they assured me that my daughter had received many — and I […]

Roommates and Residential Life

Roommates and Residential Life For many students entering college, this may be their first time away from home for an extended period of time. While dorm living can be an enriching and wonderful part of the college experience, it can also be a source of great stress and discomfort if the roommates are not a good match. Granted, the fit does not have to be perfect. Prior to starting summer B, my daughter had searched for a fall roommate through Facebook. She did not want to live an entire year with a friend, preferring to meet new people; all part of the college experience. She thought she had found a good match but upon meeting in person, it turned out they had different ideas as to what they were looking for in a roommate. This was a week before picking her dorm room. Fortunately, a friend introduced her virtually to another girl […]

Are U Ready For Some Football

You can almost hear the crowd roar… Now may not yet seem like the time to talk football. But if you are planning on coming up for a game in the fall, you should be buying your tickets and looking to book your hotel fairly soon, especially for the more popular opponents coming to The Swamp. I have been going to Gator football games since I was a student. (Not to mention age here, but I already have a daughter that graduated UF and one that is a third year).  I know which opponents are the big rivalries (did I mention LSU, Tennessee, and Kentucky?) and which games should be sleepers. (Okay, we won’t count the time that the Gators almost lost to Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns…) A Gator home game is an experience, from the pre-gaming (ask your college student), to the Gator Walk (2 hours and 25 minutes prior to each […]

The Benefits of Joining the UF Alumni Association

Alumni Networking, Perks and More… Before you know it, your student is walking across the stage at graduation and, with that last step, they are officially a Gator alumnus. The question is, what does it mean to be an alumnus? Certainly, your graduate will wear their Orange and Blue pride for years to come, but there is more. Right from the start, they will find that Gators want to help each other. Encourage your student to join the UF Alumni Association for a lot of really good reasons but, first and foremost, to network with other alumni when looking for jobs. HaveUHeard’s founder’s daughter landed a job interview because she was a Gator and went on to be hired (and of course, continue in their love of the Gators with her coworkers). And, many of the alumni associations raise money to provide scholarships to future gators so being able to pay it forward […]

Wake Up Gators, It’s Game Day!

Get Ready for the big game with these attire tips! The best feeling for any college student, particularly if you’re a Gator, is waking up knowing its game day! There is so much preparation that goes into game days: where to tailgate, who to squad up with, and what to wear. Showing up to tailgates and games is more than just rocking your school colors, it is showing your spirit and how much you love your school. It almost feels like a school-wide competition: who can get the most spirited? With this list, you’ll be sure to place in first! It is important that whenever you are shopping for game day attire, you strictly look for your school colors. You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb wearing the one color that doesn’t match with everyone else. As Game Day gets closer, UF will announce what colors students are expected to wear. […]

The ABC’s of 529 Savings Plans UF

What 529 Pays When you decide to have kids, your first thought is not how am I going to pay for college, but it might be your second. I made a decision when they were about 5 to buy a Prepaid Florida Tuition Plan which is one type of plan, locking in a Florida college. The 529 Savings Plans, or what is also known as a Qualified Tuition Plan (QTP), is a saving was fairly new and I chose not to invest in a 529 savings plan. I wish I had not overlooked this type of tuition plan or had asked their grandparents to invest in a 529 Savings plan, as opposed to gifting them money for birthdays and holidays. Since 1996, 529 plans are a way of saving for college for your student. If you had such a qualified tuition plan or a relative set one up for you, then you […]

Birthright Israel – Hillel and the trip of a lifetime!

Young Jewish students trip. Birthright Israel is the gift of a free, 10-day trip to Israel designed for young adults of Jewish heritage, aged 18–32. Many students that have experienced this trip say it is a life-changing event that helped form their own unique Jewish identity. Both of my daughters went on Birthright through UF. My older one initially had no desire to go and had put it off for 3 years, watching as her friends went after either their freshman or sophomore year. Some of her friends in her sorority convinced her to go after their junior year and she signed up. A month before, she came to me saying she wanted to cancel as she had to be in New York for her summer internship a week later and thought it would be too much. I told her that she was an adult and that would be her decision but […]

The Best Apps For Students

UF and College Studying Apps Remember when you were in college and everything you needed was easily accessible via apps on your phone? No? Well, me either. Our kids, however, do live in this world and there are apps that provide everything from food delivery to tutoring services, not to mention how to create a budget or even the perfect bibliography. Below is a list of the ones I thought most useful. Please forgive me its length, but there is truly an app for EVERYTHING. How could I narrow it down? UF Apps GatorSafe — I’m starting my list here because the first thing on my list is ALWAYS my child’s safety.  With GatorSafe, students can report a problem silently via text, also attaching pictures, video and audio files if available, and even anonymously. It empowers students to prevent assaults or other incidents before they get out of hand. Its features include […]

The Stress of College

The Stress of College Stress.  It happens to all of us, including our kids. As though balancing a full schedule, the welcome distraction of football season, sorority and fraternity rush, adjusting to college and trying to maintain a social life.  The stress levels increase during mid-terms and finals. Fortunately, UF is on top of it, offering various programs, workshops, training, and suggestions; most of which are free to our Gators. Individual wellness coaching is available through Wellness Services and is free to enroll students using their UFID.  Through GatorWell, your student has access to free wellness coaching programs addressing stress management, relaxation strategies, sleep habits, study skills, eating habits and exercise. Only students can schedule an appointment by going through the website, by email or by calling 352-273-4450. UF’s Counseling & Wellness Station offers many workshops throughout the semester including relaxation methods, therapy dogs (yappy hour), learning to create joy, stress-reducing experiences […]

PACE Yourself

Pathway to Campus Enrollment In 2015, UF launched a new enrollment program called PaCE, Pathway to Campus Enrollment to meet the growing demand of qualified freshman applicants.  Simply put, applicants that apply to UF and get accepted to the PaCE program begin their freshman year online and then transition to campus. A student accepted to this program determines their own pace thus the name) and can take their online classes in Gainesville or their home or anywhere they can access UF online. The transition over to residential status at UF requires a minimum enrollment in their online program of two semesters. Initially, some students (and let’s face it, their parents) may be disappointed in not being offered an on-campus admission. But, if going to UF was your student’s first choice, then this may be a perfect alternative. If your student wants the entire Gator experience, they can move to Gainesville and they […]


Challenges – Tutoring Can Help Like students at many other highly sought-after colleges, those who attend UF will be faced with challenging classes taught by respected, renowned and demanding professors. Tutoring is not only beneficial, but it can also be your student’s secret weapon to minimize stress and maximize results. This is not high school where a student can often coast by on their innate smarts. Succeeding at UF requires taking classes seriously. At the same time, there are many other opportunities to get involved and enjoy these four years full of football games, Greek life, outdoor activities, and not-to-miss Gainesville adventures. A student needs to be able to balance all of this, which can prove daunting to many of them.  UF has such a selective admissions process that there is also, perhaps, an understanding that many of these students have already been faced with successfully balancing academics with social and civic […]

Happy Birthday Care Packages

Time to blow out the birthday candles! When their birthday rolls around, it’s just another reminder that you won’t be celebrating a traditional family occasion with your kiddo. Putting together a care package goes a long way towards taking the sting out. Both of my daughters have been away at school when their birthdays rolled around. During their years at home, our family tradition had been decorating the entire house with Happy Birthday signs so that everywhere they walked or looked, they saw “Happy Birthday!” To create a new version of our tradition, I mailed all those signs to their roommates and asked them to hang them throughout their college apartments. My daughters each laughed and loved how I had brought our tradition to them and their “school home.” Even if I couldn’t celebrate with them, they knew without a doubt that I was thinking of them. Birthday Cookies and Cupcakes, Oh […]

Spring Sports are fun in the sports!

There is always more than football! Spring may not feature the iconic collegiate sport of football, but there are tons of other sports to enjoy! (Don’t forget — you can still get your Gator gridiron fix before next fall by enjoying the Spring Orange and Blue contest on Saturday, April 18th.) We do know that when people think of UF sports, they immediately think of football. And after this year’s appearance in the New Year’s Six bowl game, who can blame them? But Gator fans can still indulge their love of all things Orange-and-Blue-and-sporting, and attend any one of many other great sports events at UF. Sports that claim space in our glorious Florida spring include basketball, swimming and diving, gymnastics, lacrosse, softball, and baseball. The best way to keep track of all of the sporting events and game dates is on floridagators.com/calendar.aspx. You can also check out HaveUHeard’s calendar. HaveUHeard that, […]

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast It’s not just for fairy tales, getting the beauty treatment makes her happy. As the mother of girls, I know all too well that not being able to go to get their hair cut, nails done, eyebrows waxed is something they really miss when they are away at school. My nephew is the same way. Now before anyone gets ready to jump all over the “beauty is skin deep” bandwagon, let me just say, when your student is away for an entire semester, being able to get a hair trim or eyebrows waxed may be important to them. And for special occasions (Greek formals, university banquet, job interview on campus), they want to make certain their nails look polished. So where are students to go for hair treatments (cut, color, and highlights), eyebrow waxing or threading, manicures, and pedicures? Even our interns and our own daughters do not always agree […]

Are Your Student’s Valuables Safe – Everything Safe?

Is Their Stuff Safe? One more thing to worry about: is the stuff safe? Right up there with the call from my college daughter that she lost her phone, keys, student ID, (fill in the blank), is the call you get when they tell you someone took their cell phone, watch, or whatever valuable item your child has had taken. And it has been through their tears and wailing about an item of theirs being taken that I find myself, once again, asking if they had locked their door. You see, for all the time my daughters have lived in dorms, apartments, sorority houses, and off-campus houses, I have personally witnessed them forgetting to lock their room doors (not the front door, although they have done that on occasion). Usually, when I make a mere mention of that fact, I get a sassy response along the lines of “I’m just running down […]

Reitz Union Football Lottery – Bet You Already Knew That!

Reitz Union Football Lottery Reitz Union Football Lottery…HaveUHeard? Due to the tremendous demand for rooms at the Reitz Union Hotel during the University of Florida home football games, the hotel has instituted a lottery system to determine room occupancy. Now is the time to apply so you and your family will have a chance to stay at Reitz Union. The lottery application for the 2019 football season will be available for submission from January 4th, 2019 until April 1st, 2019. Apply now! The Reitz Union Hotel is proud to be designated as a Green Lodging facility by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. While you’re picking your dates, be sure to get yourself up-to-date on UF’s new online football ticketing system. Lottery […]

Staying Fit and Keeping Freshman 15 At Bay

Freshman 15, Keeping Fit! Keeping fit counts. It helps mentally as well as physically. The phrase “Freshman 15”  has it’s own claim to fame — actually infamy — because it does happen all too often. It may not be 15. It can just be 5 or 10 extra pounds gained that first year of college, which might or might not be added to the next year. I gained at least 15 pounds during my first semester at college. It was definitely NOT my finest moment. I went from living at home with set meal times and no abundance of snacks (not even alcohol, even though the drinking age was 18 at the time) to living in Gainesville among all its temptations. Who could resist the lure of late-night socializing and delivery of every (mostly fast) food imaginable? And, of course, I had no time (so I told myself) for exercising except walking […]

Getting There – Transportation

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles…All the Transportation You Can Think Of Freshmen who bring their cars will quickly learn that parking during the fall and spring is at a premium, and will most often not want to move their cars should they nab a great spot. Still, many will insist on the convenience of having their car if they want to go to a store off-campus and not want to carry heavy belongings back to their dorms (if that’s where they are living.) Both my daughters brought their cars but, aside from the occasional drive home, relied mostly on public transportation to get around town because it was easier. For parking information should your students bring their car, click here. Bicycles and Scooters HaveUHeard that part of the activity and service fee you pay goes into a fund used by the student government to provide services for all students? One of these services […]

Planning to Sublease an Apartment at UF?

Here’s How to Sublease – The Supply is Greater Than the Demand HaveUHeard that when a student moves into an off-campus apartment they generally sign a lease for twelve months? Most leases run early August (usually a few days up to a week after August 1st) through July 31st. Unlike most dorms, students are responsible for the entire year, even if they do not intend to stay for the summer. However, most apartment complexes will allow students to sublet their apartments. You will, nevertheless, have to jump through a few hoops to make a sublease happen. To find a sublessor for the summer, it is best to start looking in the fall semester. It may seem a bit early, but there are usually more available apartments looking for sublessors than there are people looking to sublet. Post on Facebook pages and begin asking around in December.  If you are in a sorority […]

More Veggies if you please! Here are our pleasing choices.

Vegan-Vegetarian Dining, love veggies. When my older daughter left for UF, she was a carnivore; in fact, one of her last meals at home was her dad’s steak dinner with his secret marinade. As time progressed, she experimented with her diet. She experimented trying to be a vegetarian and then settled on being pescatarian, which she and I both are today. So more veggies are needed, wanted and loved! Whether your student is vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of options for veggies in Gainesville. Here are our recommendations: Afternoon – This new breakfast addition to the Gainesville dining scene is located in the Grove Street neighborhood, which is about 1.4 miles from campus. The owner worked at The Top for ten years, this is a great breakfast place. They are closed on Wednesdays. Big Island Bowls –  Located on NW 8th Avenue, they serve up smoothies, acai bowls, poke bowls and […]

Eating on a Budget

Budget Eating, Is Possible Getting your college kid eating while at the same time balancing their food budget is a real challenge. I have experimented with various approaches to teaching my daughters to live on a budget. When they lived at home, they had their own bank accounts and never had carte blanche when it came to spending money. Once they each left for college, the discussion about budgeting took on a more serious tone. Perhaps your student is actually able to keep to a budget. My daughters needed more guidance, and they both struggled at the beginning — but eventually got it (for the most part). I admit that it was hard telling my daughter, as I watched her monthly allowance dwindle, that she had better be a bit more cautious or perhaps stock up on peanut butter or ramen noodles for her next few meals until her scheduled college allowance […]

Graduation at UF

Remember When… Remember when our kids were little and we couldn’t imagine them ever leaving us and going off to college? Now — if you’re anything like me — you can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. As time continues to rush by (because it doesn’t even wait for a mother’s heart to catch up), college graduation will be here before you know it. I’m really not trying to scare you. But I do want to give you a head start, at least on making those hotel reservations. (I’m not sure HaveUHeard can help you with the guard-your-heart prep.) If you’ve been to The Swamp for a football weekend, you know just how difficult and pricey it can become to nab yourself a hotel room for the weekend. Graduation weekend may even take that up a notch. People book them a year out. No joke. I literally booked my rooms a […]

Books, Books, Books

Book Time A lot has changed since I was a student, but one thing has not: Textbooks are expensive! Sure, the format differs, but the cost for books and supplies keeps soaring. Students today have many more and different options than we did, including rentals. Plan to decide by weighing which is the easiest and which is the most cost-efficient way for your student to obtain a textbook. Textbooks cost as much as a few hundred dollars each. Some students (like mine) appreciate being able to mark up and highlight a textbook. Others are happier with an online edition. HaveUHeard that some professors require packets that come in sealed plastic? These, too, can be costly. To buy or not to buy? Sometimes new books are necessary due to an online code that comes as an accessory to the book. Also, note that some professors will insist on using the newest edition of […]

Controversial Speakers

Is Free Expression, Controversial? UF is a melting pot with diverse people from different backgrounds and beliefs. No matter who you are, UF makes sure that you feel comfortable expressing who you are. While this is great for most students, this certainly strikes up the issue of controversial speakers. UF applies something called the Campus Free Expression Act. This act is a law for public universities and colleges in Florida that allows these universities to allow visitors to freely speak in outside areas around campus. UF has been a campus that has always promoted free speech by every person: an employee, a student, invited and uninvited speakers. As long as these visitors do not materially disrupt any scheduled or reserved activities on campus. This means they are not allowed to ruin another person’s expressive rights. The fact that this act prohibits visitors from materially disrupting other activities adds a bit of protection for […]

I’m Not Your Maid, but here is a solution

Cleaning Maid Services Needed? I never thought I would be saying this, but sometimes it is a good idea to hire a cleaning service for your students’ apartment or dorm. Hear me out…I think most kids are perfectly capable of keeping a clean room. Growing up, my daughters knew I was not their maid and they certainly learned how to clean their rooms. But, recently I had a friend whose daughter was extremely sick with the flu. The mom began a search to have the entire apartment disinfected. With flu season and virus’ going around; wouldn’t it give you peace of mind to know those nasty germs have been eradicated and may lessen the chances of your child catching what their roommate has or the roommates catching what your child has? Of course, this is my strongest point, but having seen my daughter’s apartment after a few months of living, I have […]

Fix it! Repair it!

Repair Shops Car, scooter or bike, oh my!  At UF, you will find all in large numbers. Talk to any student about which is the most useful at UF and you’re likely to get an equal number of answers. No matter the transportation your student is using, they may, at some point, need a repair shop. There is nothing worse than having your main mode of transportation break down. Below you will find a list of repair shops for bikes and scooters. So when you need to, get it repaired and get back on the road. For auto repair and car maintenance, click here. Bike Shops Have U Heard that part of your tuition fees includes having free bike repairs at UF? Parts are available for a nominal fee or you can bring in your own parts and they will fix it. Click for more information. SG Bike Repair Reitz Union ground […]

Flu Season Ahead, Wash Your Hands!

The Flu ends with “U” It’s that season again – and I don’t mean hurricanes. Flu season is generally from October through May; peaking in December. Given that the flu is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact – and what gets closer than dorm life and classrooms – your student may want to consider getting vaccinated. UF makes it incredibly easy and it is free too. The UF health center is open 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays with limited hours. Students can walk in for a flu shot or make an appointment by contacting the center at 352-392-1161 or UF’s Student Health Care Center. Bring a valid student ID. They can also check out the dates, times and various locations around campus. The vaccines given on campus do not contain any live influenza virus and take about 2 weeks for protection to […]

Searching for Scholarships – Find Your Way

Searching for Scholarships Congratulations on Your Child Being Accepted! Now that that’s settled, the idea of actually paying for college looms.  Hopefully, you have prepared in some way but fear not. Finding scholarships can help with the cost of college. If you live in Florida and have purchased a Florida Prepaid plan, then that will start working for you immediately.  Bright Futures Scholarships have also been a goal while in high school, and if earned, they will apply once your student has started. Every year, I hear stories about thousands of dollars in scholarship money that are never applied for.  It does take a lot of work and time to research scholarships, apply for them, and to validate the authenticity of them.  But, that work can pay off at a reduced cost to you. Some are quite competitive, some last for four years, and some are downright silly, but pay for something.  Some […]

Register to Vote UF

How to Have Your Vote Count While at College When it comes to voting, your vote counts! Voting is important so we want you to be prepared when election day rolls around, here is how to register. Absentee ballots are easy, any Florida resident has the ability to apply for one and vote by mail. This is conducted before election day, and you may return the ballot either by mail or in person. This way of voting should be used when you are unable to be present at the voting station. You can register to vote through this link on the UF website if you are not already registered. UF is part of the Voter Friendly Campus designation. Find your state’s requirements here. To register to vote in Florida, you must fill out a new registration form online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov, by mail or in person. If you prefer to fill out the form […]

Gameday Outfits for UF Parents

Parents, Show Your Team Spirit! I love going to college football games- there is nothing like a game day but, TBH parents, would you wear some of the outfits that you see your daughter wearing? Been there, done that — when I was a student. I’m still all about the Orange & Blue on game days and I am somewhat about the fashion. But I also want to be comfortable, especially on those Florida humid days when you are packed in a stadium, it’s more than 90° out, and the humidity is stifling. And, for each game, UF will determine what color you should wear… sometimes it’s orange, sometimes its Gator blue (royal blue to most of us) and sometimes they call for a whiteout. Knowing that, you will want to check each game you are headed to so you don’t end up wearing the wrong colors. You can wear officially licensed […]

Food for Thought – Some Students Need Help

No Student Hungry, Food for All! Much like the national campaign No Kid Hungry®, there are many students at colleges throughout the United States that are barely getting by, some putting their nourishment behind paying for college and all of the expenses that go along with college; tuition, books, rent, utilities, to name a few. The USDA average monthly cost of food for a college-age student for a moderate-cost food plan, following the recommended Food plans, is $223.55. Many students who are struggling just to keep up with the cost of college even while working and getting loans, often feel uncomfortable mentioning they cannot afford to buy what they need that helps them to have a balanced diet. As a college student who relied on school loans, I would often make light of this, kidding around saying my meals consisted of ramen noodles. But knowing now the importance a healthy diet plays […]

Volunteering Turns Your Compassion into Action

Volunteering with passion is key. From personal experience, I have found that those who volunteer with passion and find purpose in their work also gain a strong personal statement that writes itself when one is next required of them. Many pre-med students who volunteer are not always doing the majority of their volunteering in the medical sector but are doing things they love. There are as many reasons for volunteering as there are people, whether it’s to give back to the community, to make a difference in the world, to gain experience, or even to change a person’s life. During your four years in college, it is incredibly important to volunteer for any or all of the above reasons, but also to add to your insight about where you really want to go and what you want to do. Academics tell you some of the stories, but you may find by actually […]

Dropping A Class

Here’s how to do it right. Drop Deadline April 11th Withdrawal with 25% Refund (W assigned to all Spring courses) is January 31st. Dropping the Subject– The Financial and Grade Repercussions of dropping a class: When my daughter was a junior, she decided to take a very heavy class load which included Beginning Chinese. We discussed whether she should take this class (which had nothing to do with her major) in conjunction with her other classes. However, my daughter believed it would be an enjoyable challenge. Four weeks into the class, she called me feeling extremely stressed and anxious. It was heartbreaking to see my overachiever feeling so defeated and in over her head — as much as she wanted to succeed, it was taking its toll on her and the rest of her semester’s obligations. While the ultimate decision was, of course, hers to drop the class, I believe she wanted […]

Is an A Really an A in your GPA?

Those Pluses and Minuses Do Count! In 2018, the University of Florida rose to the No. 8 spot in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges for public colleges. This level of excellence is a balance of many things including rigorous academic courses, above-average academic expectations, and highly competitive entrance exam scores. The University of Florida strives to uphold a strong academic standard and, because of that, the GPA scale can either work for you or against you. Here is the official GPA break-down: Passing Grade Grade Points A 4.0 A- 3.67 B+ 3.33 B 3.0 B- 2.67 C+ 2.33 C 2.0 C- 1.67 D+ 1.33 D 1.0 D- .67 This GPA scaling system can be tough; however, it serves to encourage students to continuously work as hard as possible for the chance for a better grade. For example, a student that studies consistently to achieve 89% versus a student […]

Want Easy? Get on the Bus!

A Guide to Gainesville’s Bus System Getting to and from campus can be stressful-worrying about arriving to class on time with Gainesville morning and evening traffic is tough. For those students who live off-campus without a vehicle or do not want to purchase a decal, the bus system is the best option. Students with a valid Gator 1 ID card receive fare-free access to RTS service.  All students may ride any RTS bus anywhere in Gainesville including campus, fare-free, by simply presenting their valid Gator 1 ID card to the driver. The Gainesville Regional Transit System is the local area transit corporation that serves the Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida area, the University of Florida and Santa Fe College campuses. Each route’s bus schedule is between 7-10 minutes during peak hours, 10-15 minutes during non-peak hours, and 20-40 minutes during late hours. RTS serves persons with disabilities, and students that find themselves in […]

Sorting Out College Life – A Guide to Laundry

Laundry, the worst chore ever! I spent my daughter’s senior year of high school teaching her how to do laundry. I even tried using enticements (money) for each load she completed. It was a little bit of a battle because what should take maybe an hour or so to run two loads, dry and fold became an all-day project. She would leave wet clothes in the washer just to avoid folding the clothes in the dryer. By the time she was ready to head off to college, I felt she knew enough to be able to handle her own laundry. And then I just hoped she would wash her sheets and towels weekly as well as doing her regular laundry. She would tell me that students were willing to pay others to do their laundry. Or, that if she was doing her own laundry, if she did not get to the laundry […]

Restaurants for Dinner Time

Dinner, Early or Late! Considering you will make many trips to UF to visit your student over the next four years or more, it is well worth exploring the many great dinner restaurant options. I have my favorites but I always aim to try a new place for dinner each time I visit. Adam’s Rib Co – Two locations in Gainesville. Consistently considered a must-visit for dinner for all of its 10 years in Gainesville. Famous for their bbq ribs, smoked beef brisket, and smoked pork, along with sides including southern collard greens and black-eyed peas. A fine taste of the south, you will want to visit at least once when visiting Gainesville. They also serve breakfast and lunch. Amelia’s – Downtown. Serving homemade pasta and other home-style Italian classics with sauces made from scratch.  A wide array of antipasti dishes, Italian soups, pasta, chicken, veal, fish. Full bar. Ballyhoo Grill – […]


Hundreds of Dining Options Like any college town,  there are literally hundreds of dining options from fast food to fast-casual, from family-style to fine dining. You can get your burgers, order pizza, go Mexican or opt for Mediterranean, choose Chinese or select sushi, binge on Barbecue or stick to salads; there is most assuredly a restaurant for every palate and every price point. When coming to Gainesville to visit your student Gator or tour the campus with a prospective student, what restaurants are must-visits? Below we give you a breakdown of some of our favorites.  During peak weekends and at some of the more popular selections, expect waits of an hour or more. HaveUHeard that depending upon the occasion, you may not even get into a specific restaurant unless you get there very early? The Swamp is an example of a place where it is very difficult to get a table during […]

Finding a Roommate at The Swamp!

Adjusting to shared living with a roommate. When I got into the University of Florida, my biggest dream came true. I had envisioned my four years at The Swamp as nothing less than epic. In all of these fantasies, I always saw someone, a roommate,  next to me experiencing it all with me. I wanted nothing more than for this person to be my roommate – to start and end my day with my best friend. The pressure was on to find the perfect roommate. Someone who would compliment my personality and become the perfect addition to my college years. The first big decision I had to make when it came to finding a roommate was deciding whether I wanted to live with a high school friend or a virtual stranger. Many people warn you against living with your high school best friend as it is known to lead to drama and […]

Working While in College

Working or Not Working, That is the Question. Some students have to work to pay for college. Some consider their school work their only job and are fortunate enough not to have to find work outside their studies. Others choose to work while at school to supplement their spending. Whatever the reason, it is rarely a negative when a student gets a job. Whether it is to pay tuition or housing, or plan for their spring break trip, or backpack through Europe after graduation, or even to just augment their wardrobe, working while in school is neither novel nor unusual. HaveUHeard that UF will help students find jobs both on and off-campus? Students can visit the Career Connections Center and the Jobs at UFL website for information and assistance.  There are many job fairs, both on and off-campus, for UF students. Click here to find out about what job fair may be […]

Honor Roll

My Student Made Honor Roll It is that time of year when students receive notifications that they have made a collegiate scholar society. The cream-colored linen envelope arrives with its gold embossed logo of said scholar society organization. As a parent, you do a mental cartwheel as you see the invitation. Read the fine print carefully when you get invitations to join The XYZ Honor Societies. Educate yourself as to what they provide in exchange for this membership. Because honestly, there are many organizations on campus that your student can get involved with that will be far more beneficial to their resume and postgraduate application than membership in a society that either profit from the fees they collect. Read their annual report to see how much of their revenue goes toward administrative fees, just as you would with a charity you are vetting. I am not trying to diminish the euphoric moment […]

It’s All About the Delivery, get it now!

There’s a knock at the door! Taking time away from studying can be the difference between dinner or a bag of chips and a soda.  Sometimes it pays to turn to delivery services. Here are some of the ones we found and what they deliver and how they work. Delivery Services: Bite Squad – Delivery from many Gainesville restaurants. There is a chat option if you would like to review your order or ask why your order is taking so long. You can schedule a delivery for later in the day and check the order status. Gift cards are available. Delivery fees start at $1.99 depending on the distance Doorstep Delivery – Powered by Bite Squad. Order from anywhere anytime  – even in the park. Delivery fees from $2.99 352 Delivery- Delivery system from lots of Gainesville restaurants.  The delivery fee is $1.25 per mile from the restaurant to you, starting at $1.99. […]

Retail Therapy

A Little Retail Therapy You will find almost every major box store including Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Family Dollar Store,  TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and most others. Major department stores include Dillards, Kohls, and Belks. Surely enough to soothe your retail therapy needs! For those unfamiliar with these stores, here is a quick description: Bed Bath & Beyond – As its name implies, this large store carries almost every item imaginable for a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. They cater to the college market offering many convenient services including picking out items in your hometown or online and then arranging to pick them up in Gainesville. This can be extremely time-saving as well as freeing up space in your vehicle. If your student is flying into town, this service is even more convenient. Gainesville has one location on Newberry Road. When you are first moving to college, you should expect […]

What Not to Bring with You to College

You really don’t need that at college! If you haven’t started shopping for your incoming college freshman yet, whether for things for their dorm or clothes; well, then, we are here to tell you that you probably shouldn’t bother. You see, our daughters have cleaned out just about every store and depleted us of our savored stack of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons. Ok, so we are kidding… sort of. Actually what we wanted to share here was that given that we have had not only our two kids but our nieces and nephews (we are a multigenerational gator family going back to my almost 90-year-old uncle), we have learned that there are a few things you really don’t need to purchase and bring. For instance, that printer you spent hours picking out. It turns out there are quite a few places around campus to print wirelessly and then you won’t have […]

Football Time – Where to Watch the Gators

College football … Gators, It’s Time We can’t wait for it! Time to start anticipating that our football team will end up nationally ranked and headed to a bowl game. Even after graduation, alumni go to football watch parties where they can hang with other alum. Hanging with other Gator fans is way more fun than solo chomping and it could lead to a job, a rekindled friendship or just a feeling of being back at school. We’ve got the places to head to for football game madness. Be sure to dress in your school colors, here are some tips. If you are headed to Gainesville and a seat in the stadium, here is the inside skinny on the new online ticket system. Florida UF Football Watch Locations Bradenton Motorworks Brewing (1014 9th Street W, Bradenton, FL) Clearwater Yard of Ale (St. Petersburg – 260 1st Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL) Crown […]

Student Accessibility Services

Accessibility Accommodations for all students. My daughter has several friends that require special accessibility accommodations for their disability; some for ADHD, some for medical issues. And, one of our interns needed the services and found that the UF employee she met with during her intake meeting was extremely understanding and helpful. She now takes all of her exams at the DRC and has extra time to take them. UF is large and frankly, can be rather overwhelming, but the Disability Resource Center is there to create an inclusive educational environment for all students by way of academic accommodations, testing support, assistive technologies, and coaching. The DRC is partnered with U Matter, We Care at UF. The first step for any student that will be requesting academic accessibility accommodations would be to schedule an intake appointment to speed up the processing. Remember to bring in any paperwork validating your needs. The Disability Resource […]

Parking at UF – It’s Not As Easy As It Sounds!

Get that last spot! You sent them to college with a car and they are grateful. However, although it will make a weekly Publix run easier, no one really thought about the fact that parking at UF can be pretty inconvenient and tends to be a problem every year. There are just not enough spots for as many students who drive to campus. Unless you need your car (coming from an apartment complex), we highly suggest using the free bus service. Run by RTS, you can download the app Rider. This app allows you to track RTS bus transit providing real-time transit tracking, arrival predictions, and proximity alerts and check bus times and routes Where do they expect students to park?  Well, student parking is based on whether a student lives on or off-campus and the number of credit hours earned. Students who have completed fewer than 50 credit hours and live […]

Technology Needs for UF Students

HaveUHeard that Microsoft Office 365 technology is free? Yes! Free technology for all enrolled UF Students.  Click here for information about downloading. Students also receive 50GB of storage through GatorCloud Email As a UF student, not only do you receive technical assistance with connectivity and other authentication issues but students may receive 60-80% savings in student licenses for special software they may need including Adobe Create Cloud Suite for their technology needs. While the computer of choice for many students is trending toward Macbooks, before you head out to get a computer for your student, some of the colleges have specific requirements that differ from general recommendations. Click here for the individual college and degree program hardware and software requirements as you may find that a Dell, Microsoft Surface Pro or HP may better serve your student’s needs. Microsoft Surface has a great price, any hp is great. If you want to make […]

Who You Going to Call?

…When You Need Answers The important contact info you need to have. Over the years there have been only a few times that I, as a parent, have felt the need to call the campus to resolve an issue. Generally, I try to get my kids to handle it themselves. However, knowing where to call for whatever the issue can be daunting. For instance, when said student accrued a certain amount of parking tickets and was having a difficult time paying them online, she called the Transportation and Parking Office to figure it out. More information and other reasons you may have to make a call and contact this office are below. Another example: When a friend had reason to believe her son may have been hazed by his fraternity during rush, she got in touch with The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Affairs.  352-392-1671. Email the director at jc@ufsa.ufl.edu Fortunately, that situation […]

Preparing for Grad School Exams

More exams, the fun keeps going! It may seem like you just finished studying for the ACT/SAT’s and left for college, but before you know it, graduation will be looming and many students will be preparing for graduate school exams. Getting familiar with the vast amount of degrees and programs out there would be the first step. If you are considering graduate school at The University of Florida, check to see if there is an open house. Consider visiting other colleges as well. This will give you the opportunity to meet professors and ask questions about the program. Start talking to your advisor early to be sure you have all the correct prerequisites, exams, shadowing or research hours you will need. Whether you are preparing for Medical or Law School or a specific graduate program, researching the continuation of your education may feel overwhelming. Finding the right concentration for you is important. […]

Move In? All the Tips and Tricks to Making it Easy

Move-In Date! Apartments and Dorms Once your student has been given their move-in date and dorm/residence assignment, the process of handling what can be a stressful, labor-intensive and often expensive process begins. Traditionally, female students tend to take a full-on decorating approach complete with wall décor, signs, picture frames, string lights, desk accessories, and many other decorative items. Male students do not quite go that full in and often just want a comfortable bed, maybe a poster or two and perhaps a rug. It is quite humorous after each drop-off, whether it is for summer or fall, to see my friends postings on Facebook and Instagram, (because that is the social media that parents are most comfortable with), and see the obvious difference between a completed dorm room. This may a sticker price shock moment. Back to college spending is expected to reach $1,347 this year. This is big business with college […]

Pets in School

Take Your Dog (Or Cat) to College We have a cat who my daughter misses dearly. Her roommate has a dog that lives with them in a house but for those who have dogs that travel, we know you get asked to bring the dog. Let’s face it; the pup is everyone’s favorite family member. Personally, I would rather travel with a dog than have our daughter adopt one of her own that may eventually become mine too, so I often oblige. (You may want to see our blog on Pets at College if you already have a grandbaby with fur.) The good news is that is becoming rather common for people to travel with their pets. Dog-friendly restaurants near UF Amelia’s Bagels and Noodles Bento’s BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Blaze Pizza Burrito Famous Chop Stix Café Chuy’s Tex-Mex East End Eatery Fat Tuscan Gator Dockside La Fiesta Loosey’s Metro Diner Mi Apa […]


More than Football…Entertainment That’s entertainment! Are you looking for more than the typical?  The Hippodrome, a downtown landmark, is a must-see during your time in Gainesville. Their diverse offerings include live theater, films, gallery exhibits, classes, and special events. Monday nights feature their special Jazz Nights and a host of UF’s most talented musicians, both faculty and student. The Hippodrome also screens first-run foreign, limited-release and avant-garde films. Still downtown, check out Depot Park for everything from live music to 5K runs to drum circles. Events at Bo Diddley Plaza include free evening yoga, vintage and farmers markets, and more live music. HaveUHeard about Celebration Pointe? Along with their cinemas, you’ll find live music, good food, and fun times. Be sure to check out their event calendar.  If a movie night is what you are looking for, you can also head to the Regal Cinemas (Regal Royal Park Stadium 16) on Archer […]

Taking the Campus Tour Helps You Decide

A Tour Can Help You Make Your College Decision It is the season for campus tours. Many of you have already visited a multitude of schools, but now that the verdicts are in; decisions have to be made. Therefore, this tour should look different as it should point out the pertinent things that will help your students make their final decision as to which school to attend. Of course, my daughter loves being a Gator, but your student may have specific things that will help them weigh out the pros and cons of each college. Go with a list of questions, but not the kind of questions that you can just google an answer to. Don’t be shy about asking them of your tour guide, financial advisor, a specific department or even students hanging out at The Plaza. They can be your greatest resources. Some of the more common questions our interns […]


A Nice Place to Stay There are plenty of hotel options for visiting Gainesville. Remembering this is a college town, you should not be expecting to see high rise five-star hotels. Most of the hotels will be found on Archer Road right of I-75, but there are a few further away from the crowded Archer Road corridor and there are some closer to campus. It is a good idea to stay with one hotel chain allowing you to accumulate points to earn free night stays or other rewards offered by that particular program. The other important point to consider is that there are peak weekends in Gainesville where it is very difficult to get a room. Examples include all football weekends and graduation. During these high demand weekends, rates will double for a stay seemingly very high for a town like Gainesville. Expect to pay between $200 and $400 per night depending […]

U Matter We Care at UF

We Really Do Care We know you care too! Now you have your college student moved in and they are ready to embark on a new independent life. As a parent, even if you are not a helicopter parent, it may be difficult to drive off. For me personally, while I miss my daughter immensely, I am also confident that I have given her the tools to succeed. The leash was loosened back in high school allowing her to make adult decisions while I was still around to offer my guidance. They are going to experiment perhaps staying out late or eating unhealthy foods, drinking and so forth. UF offers many safety nets if you have concerns that your student is having difficulty adjusting to life on their own. One of their newest initiatives is the U Matter We Care© campaign. The premise behind this initiative is that it is impossible for […]

ProctorU – Online Test Taking

Online Test Taking for Today’s Students Online test-taking can solve many issues. As a fourth-year student at the University of Florida, I have experienced taking exams throughout the semester in allocated classrooms all across the university due to large volumes of students taking the same exam at the same time. For example, in a typical Physics class at UF, there are at least 300 students. It would be impractical to attempt to test that many students in one room without chaos or the threat of major cheating. Thus, several smaller classrooms must be reserved to spread out all 300 students taking the exam. This can also be a long and tedious process, and classrooms are not always available because they are already in use. To avoid this situation, many teachers opt to use a testing service called ProctorU. ProctorU is a live online proctoring service that allows students to take exams on […]

Car Giving Them Problems?

Car Problems? Fix-It here! Many students, my daughters included, bring cars to UF.  They like the freedom of being able to go to the store, drive home, run errands and not have to rely on public transportation. Honestly, between their parking tickets, dings, scratches and dents, I am not a big fan but I do understand their perspective. But… car problems. It is why, after seeing new dents every time my daughter came home from school, that I no longer repair the dents. Oil changes, tire balance, and rotation, fixing something important that isn’t working is another story. I have bought tires for my daughter’s car at Walmart Auto Center after researching the type of tires she needed but for scheduled maintenance, I do have her take her car to the dealership. They are probably a little pricier than taking it to a specific auto shop but they do send us coupons. […]

Namast’ay with Yoga at UF Get Your Ommmm on!

Keeping Stress at Bay with Yoga I started doing yoga several years ago after being invited by friends. I never thought of myself as much of a yoga person and more of a gym person, but I was feeling a little anxious and thought I would give it a try. Fast forward two and a half years later and I am hooked. My daughters also love it. Not only is it good for you physically, but, like many other things, it is great when you are feeling stressed. In fact, my younger daughter needed an elective and is taking it as a class. In Gainesville, there is plenty to choose from, both on and off-campus. If your student is resistant, you may want to remind them that the practice is over 5000 years old. There has to be something to that. In addition, it has been proven to alleviate stress; and what […]

Lost and Found

Oh No…It Happened! It’s Lost. Have you ever lost anything really important before? My daughter spent the summer studying abroad. She was warned about pickpockets by friends. And, she has made it through almost two months without incident… until last week.  That is when I got the hysterical crying call that she was pickpocketed in broad daylight and now without her driver’s license, her debit card, credit card, transportation card, and about €50. Thankfully her passport was not in her backpack. We did not cancel her debit card but tracked the activity. That allowed her to Venmo friends who paid for her subway, meals and anything else she needed. Losing It… My other college student lost more Student ID’s, keys, driver’s licenses than any person I know (or at least I thought). Conduct a search on the student UF page, and you will see daily posts for lost keys, wallets, cell phones, ID’s […]

Homecoming at UF

Gator Growl? Being part of a huge Gator Family (16 of us went to UF including my 90-year-old uncle when it was an all-boys school); I have been to my share of Homecoming both as a student and a parent to a student. The years I chose to not attend was because my daughters had positions working on the Gator Growl staff (see our blog on getting involved so I wouldn’t have seen them). Many of the sororities and fraternities are paired together for a week of events so my daughters wanted to spend their time at these events. As an alumnus, even if I only saw them during the parade, a few meals and before the game, I was good with that. I would recommend experiencing Homecoming at least once during your student’s time at UF. Homecoming Weekend for 2019 is October 4th – 6th. What exactly is Gator Growl and Homecoming […]

Family Weekend

Gator Time – Family Time As a Gator Alum as well as a Gator Parent, any time the opportunity presents itself to be able to share in some Gator football with my daughter, I am there. This year’s Family Weekend will be September 26- 29th. There is a home game against the Towson Tigers. Not exactly a rival game but if it is nice out and the Gators are doing well, the game will get crowded. The only thing that may make demand high is that some of the sororities and fraternities have either a weekend or a mother/daughter or mother/son, father-daughter or father/son weekend in the fall. For those of you with students who join a sorority or fraternity, you may want to check with your student to see if they have picked this same weekend. When my daughter pledged, we had already booked Homecoming weekend. Her sorority family weekend was […]

U.F. Move.In.Day.

U.F.M.I.D. (Move-In Day) UF’s move-in day is …well…a lot of work. Be prepared for many trips to the car and possibly one or two to the store for the inevitable forgotten or overlooked item (ours was not having enough Command hooks last year).  The heat does not help, The heat does not help, but a hand truck and Ikea bags do. I will not get into the emotional goodbyes at the end of the day, but I will say that large sunglasses to cover my watery, red eyes were my savior. M.I.D. is June 27th for Summer B Freshman/Transfers and August 15th for Freshman and Transfers Summer move in this year begins on Thursday, June 27th and fall move in this year begins on Friday, August 15th for incoming freshmen and transfers. Your student will get an appointment as to their move-in time through email. Move-in continues through Sunday for all other dorm […]

The First Few Weeks at School

We completed the drop. We unloaded the car in the treacherous Florida heat and we set up their rooms. The bed was made, everything had been put away and it only took two trips to Target for things we didn’t realize we would need. We said our see-ya-laters and shed the appropriate amount of tears. It was when I got into the car without our new college freshman, all the advice we meant to give them about those first few weeks lay dormant somewhere between the big lump in my throat and my empty heart. Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but the truth is there is a great deal to be said at that time. Whether or not they take to heart is another story. Perhaps starting the conversation a few weeks before drop-off is a better idea. Getting Started Those first few weeks of college are a crucial time for […]

Wakey Wakey- Eggs and Bakey, Breakfast Bests!

Best Breakfast Restaurants Like any city, there are literally hundreds of dining options here in Gainesville, from fast food to fast-casual, from family-style to fine dining. When hungry for breakfast, you will find bagels, omelets, pancakes and more at restaurants appealing to every palate and price point. Depending on whether you are touring with a prospective student or visiting your student in Gainesville (who will undoubtedly be clamoring for a good meal), the options are plentiful. These are our favorites: ReFresh –  Located on W. University Avenue. Serving healthy food like açaí, lettuce wraps, wraps, bagels, cold-pressed juices, and more. Vegetarian/Vegan health food restaurant. 43rd Street Deli and Breakfast House – 2 locations, Williston and NW 25th place. Open for 35 years, this is one of your more traditional deli restaurants. Afternoon – Located on NW 10th Avenue in the Grove Street neighborhood. This new breakfast/brunch place is not too pricey but […]

Having a Car at College

Can You Get By Without a Car? As a fourth-year student at the University of Florida, I have experienced college with and without a vehicle. While having a car during any stage of your student’s college career is helpful and convenient, it is not necessary. Traditionally, freshmen will live in a campus dorm their first year and the need for a car is very minimal. Parking is limited and oftentimes, they will have to park further away from their dorm. As for needing a car to shop for food and toiletries, Publix is the most popular grocery store for students living on campus. There is a location right across from campus (13th and University) as well as a Target and CVS. Products such as toiletries, basic clothing items, food, and school supplies are within half a mile from the center of campus. Getting around Gainesville via buses is very easy with the […]

The Innovation Academy Explained

All the questions you have about the Innovation Academy Answered. So you just got into the University of Florida— what an exciting day! I still remember the day I opened that email. I started tearing up; I hadn’t even wanted to go to UF, but the fact that I got into this prestigious and legacy school was so overwhelming for me. I was never a great test-taker. I was a super hard-working student, but just never did well on exams. And it showed in my A/B grades and my SAT score. But here I was, I got into this amazing school. Then I noticed underneath the large “congratulations,” there was something about this academy. I didn’t know what that meant, but it had to be nothing. My mom came home with a cinnamon roll with blue and orange lettering on it that read “Baby Gator.” We were ecstatic. Both my parents had […]

Just Desserts! Get Yours, In a Good Way…

Just Desserts! In a good way… Getting your just desserts, where did that phrase come from? But desserts are our favorite meal! Sometimes, we think the best part of the dinner is the dessert; here are some of our favorites! 4 Rivers Smokehouse – Located on SW 35th Blvd. How did a smokehouse land in desserts? They have a Sweet Shop with cupcakes, cookies, specialty cakes and chocolates that are amazing. Cold Stone Creamery – Hand-crafted ice cream churned on frozen granite stone and mixed with your choice of candy, cakes, fruits or nuts. D’Lites Emporium – Located on NW 16th Blvd., serving frozen soft-serve low-fat ice cream. Specials available each day of the week, so check their website. Decadent A Dessert  & Coffee Bar – At Celebration Point, serving bundt cakes, cookies, muffins, gelato, coffee, lattes, espresso, arabica, cold brew, and craft beer & wine from Swamp Head Brewery. FogBoxx – The newest nitrogen ice cream shop […]

Study? The Best Places to Study at UF

Best Places to Study at UF My daughter, like every other college student, has her own way of studying. She does not like to study in a group but prefers a quiet spot to read and re-read and re-re-read the material. If she comes across a concept or word she does not understand, she stops and looks it up before moving forward. Many times, she’ll don her Beats headphones to block out any background noise. Her preference is sitting either at her desk or in her bed but, while on campus at UF, she can often be found in the library. At some point, however, every student needs a few alternate destinations for a good but different place to study. You know, the old “change of scenery” mnemonic! Fortunately, there are quite a few places to study on and off the UF campus. The most obvious place, as noted above, would be […]

Being Thrifty

When You Need to Stay on Budget, Be Thrifty! Being a college student, it can be stressful to be thrifty and stay on budget throughout the semester. There can be interviews, social events, and many occasions for a new outfit. In between, living in a rental, I like to redecorate my room and living space with my roommates. Spending money at the mall, popular house décor stores, Target, or discount stores, such as Homegoods, can add up quickly. Fortunately, I have discovered thrift stores, and Gainesville has many great options for thrifty shopping for almost any type of item. From gently used kitchen appliances to wall decorations, lamps, clothing, and much more, thrift shops allow for students on a budget to not only enjoy their living space but feel confident at interviews as well! Additionally, many thrift stores in Gainesville are not-for-profit. For example, Outreach Thrift Store offers high-quality clothing and household […]

Nature vs Nurture Get out in nature at UF

Nature vs  Nurture Do you love nature as I do? During my older daughter’s high school graduation party, when she was excitedly celebrating her admission to the University of Florida, a relative who attended UF gave her a list of 100 things to do before leaving Gainesville. Of course, some of the items were meant for her eyes only. But what I knew of the list included waterspots and sports, sporting events, bars and restaurants, along with those student-only activities (did I already mention bars?). It was truly an all-encompassing list spanning four years full of adventure at UF. While the list itself seems to have unfortunately disappeared, I still recall many of the places they said she should visit at least once. Many of them I remember because I had been to those places first as a student at UF, before I went as the parent of a Gator. When you […]


Sports = Football Did U know…UF students get in FREE to all Gator athletic events, other than football, with their Gator1 ID Card. Regular season events for these sports are free and open to the public. Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field. Students who do not pay the UF athletic and activity fee are not eligible for student tickets. UF is a part of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and participates in almost every collegiate sport including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, lacrosse and soccer. The Gators are considered to be an elite program with three national football championships and numerous division championships. The Gators play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium better known as The Swamp. The official seating capacity is 88,548, although the actual attendance regularly exceeds 90,000. It is considered to be one of the loudest and toughest home stadiums for opponents. With a large and […]

Computer and Phone Repair

Computer and Phone Repair My daughters have dropped their phones more times than I care to admit (or they care to share); so much so that even the insurance for accidental damage is used up.  And, heaven forbid the phone stops working completely. The day my daughter’s phone broke, and she thought the world would come to an end, was nothing compared to when her computer stopped working. I have to admit, now that I no longer have a landline phone, I could not live too long without a phone, but when a computer malfunctions and all the work you did previously can’t be accessed, or worse, may have been lost; it may feel like the world is coming to an end. The good news is that it isn’t. There are plenty of (more competent than I) repair services available right near campus for those moments. I do, however, highly recommend a […]

Finding an Internship at college

Best way to prepare for a job! What better way to learn about a prospective field or career than to do an internship? I am a big believer in internships, having done my first internship as a Gator in Tallahassee as an intern for the Governor’s Office (Yes! I survived being a Gator in Tally). It was an amazing experience and I truly believed it helped me to get my first job out of college. Internships allow students to learn, but they also help them decide if that is actually the career for them. They help them figure out, while still in school, whether the career they envisioned for themselves all along may (or may not) be just what they wanted. The question is how to find one. I’m not going to lie…if you know someone, now might be the time to put the word out there that your student is looking. […]

Father Daughter – Father Son Weekend

The Best Things to Do With Your Dad at UF As a college student at the University of Florida, leaving home was exciting; however, as the months passed by, the desire to spend time with my family increased exponentially. Now that I am a senior, seeing my family during the semester is just as wonderful as it was as a freshman. Family weekends at the University of Florida are great fun, and Father-Daughter weekends are among some of my favorite. Not being in a sorority, when my dad comes to visit, we are not on a tight schedule. For example, if there are sporting events that we plan on attending that start later in the day, we enjoy taking a walk or hiking at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. We also go to Depot Park or downtown Gainesville because there are always events going on such as art festivals, farmer’s markets, or […]

The Big Game -Where to Pregame at UF

All Part of the Game Day Football Tradition Football season is upon us and other than making sure you will be properly attired in orange and blue and have your Gator chomp down, you will need to know where to go to pre-game. Pre-gaming, according to Urban Dictionary, generally means drinking before going to an event where drinks that you will purchase are more expensive. I believe the term crazy fun was included in the description as well. Pre-gaming at UF mostly occurs by Midtown which is across the street from The Swamp (aka Ben Hill Griffin Stadium). You will see a sea of orange and blue crowding restaurants and bars including The Swamp restaurant (no reservations taken on Gameday so get there early), JJ’s Tavern, Tatu, and Salty’s as well as The Social, Fat Daddy’s, Rowdy’s, well just about any bar in the Midtown area. (It is also where you will […]

Mother-Daughter Time

First-Timer I remember my first mother-daughter weekend in Gainesville. Although it was a sorority event, we did not participate in all of the planned activities, opting instead to just have some alone time. We took a long walk around the campus, passing by Lake Alice. We are not big fans of alligators or other wildlife up close, but we did — carefully — get close enough to see several gators. There is nothing like walking the campus, seeing the Spanish moss hanging from the trees, visiting the Baughman Center (which is a beautiful non-denominational chapel), even walking by the Bat House. We had no desire to wait for dusk and actually watch the bats. But we did catch up with what she had been doing, how she liked her sorority, how classes were going and how we were doing without her home (where we still had her 14-year-old sister with us). We […]

Safety Matters

Safety UF takes safety very seriously. Technology has changed the landscape of how they impart information to students through texts and emails, and social media platforms. There are also options available for students to use to get around the campus. For one, students can follow UF Alert on Twitter. Parents can follow as well but it may be overwhelming to get an alert for every activity when you are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. I follow the alerts during Hurricane warnings/watches and other serious events and then unfollow. You can go ahead and bookmark in advance. University of Florida Web pages www.ufl.edu www.ufalert.ufl.edu www.emergency.ufl.edu UF Emergency Hotline 1-866-UF FACTS Follow UF Alert on Twitter It’s a SNAP! The Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) is a free, nightly, campus safety and transportation service sponsored by UF Student Government, Student Traffic Court and the University of Florida Police Department. SNAP provides a point-to-point […]

UF Gator Bucket List, Be Sure You Do These!

Check out these Gator Bucket items to do! If you have committed to becoming a Gator, there are a few things that you might want to check out over your next four years at UF. Consider them part of your induction to Gator-dom. Some are unexpected fun, while others are sort of obvious. Either way, your time at UF shouldn’t only be about studying. Life is all about a healthy balance and you’ll be so happy you went looking for all there is to UF and Gainesville beyond the classroom. Check out our “bucket list.” Participate in the Dance Marathon – Dance the night away and be a fundraiser at the same time. More information can be found here. Head to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park for a day – Florida’s first state preserve and a National Natural Landmark. Eight trails offer visitors the opportunity to hike, horseback ride and bicycle. More […]

Santa Fe First

Santa Fe Then Transfer to UF Some students may not be ready for a big university, but want the excitement that goes along with it. For this reason, many students choose to start their college career or even just take some of their classes at the local, Santa Fe College, which is located about 6 miles from UF. The classes are definitely smaller than those at UF and tuition is less. Taking some classes at Santa Fe State College may be part of transitioning over to UF, but if your student’s heart is set on being a Gator, it may be worth the effort. While going to Santa Fe does not guarantee you admission to UF, UF does admit more students from SF than any other state college. The majority are admitted including 88% of students in the Santa Fe honors program. They offer several other programs and perks that can help […]

How to Transition as a Transfer Student

Transferring to a new college can be both daunting and exciting. I transferred to the University of Florida as a junior after completing my AA degree from out of state, and now that I have learned a few helpful tips over these past two semesters, I want to share some practical ways to arrive prepared for orientation, the first day of class, and the next semesters ahead! Now that you have been accepted you may be searching for housing options, ways to get around town, clubs, and organizations to build your resume, and many more important aspects of transferring. First, start with choosing a mandatory orientation date—this is one of the most important steps. Throughout this day, you will tour UF, choose your class schedule for the upcoming semester, and meet with financial aid advisors. This is a one-day event for transfer students. For other helpful orientation tips, read here. Second, research […]

Places of Worship

Continuing Traditions of Worship For all students, being able to continue to worship, pray and adhere to their religious beliefs is extremely important for several reasons. The most important thing is for them to be able to follow their faith. But having a place to worship on or near campus allows them to meet other students and have a Rabbi, Minister, Bishop or Priest to turn to should they need spiritual guidance. UF is a very diverse campus. At or around UF, there are places to worship, regardless of your students’ faith. A month after my daughter started college, the first of the most important Jewish holidays were coming up (think the equivalent of Good Friday and Easter Sunday).  We had always gone to services together and had huge family dinners with the entire extended family. Since the holiday fell on a weekday, she was unable to come home. So, she did what many […]

Where the Wind Blows, Stormy Weather!

Florida Weather = Storm Having grown up in South Florida, I have gone through more than 45 Hurricane seasons. With many hurricane preparations under my belt and many, many decades living in a Hurricane prone area, I can say that preparation, not panic, is crucial. Some of my personal preparations included being the host of many a Hurricane Party where family and friends who lived in evacuation zones brought food and supplies along with their evacuating selves. Hurricane parties are, honestly, not uncommon in South Florida. They serve as a distraction for our children and, truth be told, for the adults too. Hurricanes, and the potential for a direct hit, are frightening. The 24-hour broadcasts do very little to help keep anxiety at bay. After South Florida took significant hits from  Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and  Hurricane Wilma in 2005, my neighbors and I all became proficient in a whole new language. […]

Rushing Her Way

To Sorority or Not? Rushing In… Are you rushing in? For parents of incoming freshmen, you probably are starting to hear whispers about sorority recruitment. The way recruitment is handled for sororities are very different than fraternities. Talk to any parent at any school, and you will not find too many who love the process.  But like the process or not, sororities and fraternities do have their advantages, especially at a large college. At this point, you may be thinking why would I want my daughter to subject herself to going through this process? Personally speaking, while sorority life may not be for everyone, they do offer a lot of benefits including being extremely visible and active on campus, involvement in philanthropies, high academics and most importantly, they make the massive size of UF seem a little smaller. To this day, I can say I made lifelong friendships in my sorority at […]

After The Hurricane

Post-Hurricane Dorian Hurricane Dorian was the first named storm to impact the state of Florida so far this Hurricane season. While Gainesville and most inland Florida communities were largely spared, our coastline did have some damage and everyone’s school schedule was interrupted. More than that, our entire state was affected by the long and anxious wait (in a declared State of Emergency) for an unpredictable storm over a holiday weekend. “What Labor Day Holiday?” we all asked. As a Florida resident for over 45 years, the strength of Hurricanes today still makes me anxious, worried and concerned, especially when meteorologists adopt words such as catastrophic. You can see it in their facial expressions and hear it in their voices as they give the latest track updates. I, like every parent, worry about my UF student. Is her apartment safe? Will she be able to handle this with her friends instead of her […]

Sorority Girl

So They’ve Joined a Sorority Congratulations if your daughter has found a place to call home. Being in a sorority opens the door to so many wonderful experiences. I made some of my greatest friends when I was in a sorority at UF. They have been a part of my life through the ups and downs, good times and bad times. To this day, some of them are amongst my closest circle of friends. And, with Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with so many more of them. We now will meet up in Gainesville for football games and sorority reunions as well as getting together locally. Every sorority is a little different as it relates to living in the house, eating meals at the house, academic requirements, philanthropic requirements and social requirements. Your daughter will be expected to attend chapter meetings, eat their meals at the house (it is included […]

Rushing His Way

Is It Really an Animal House? Going back to 1978 with the release of “Animal House”, which became one of the most successful comedies of all time, to 2014 with the release of “Neighbors”, fraternities and rushing have been portrayed as groups of Neanderthals that do nothing but party, drink alcohol and abuse drugs. Fraternities have been called out on national television for purported participation in horrific activities. Certainly, if a fraternity house is engaging in behavior that crosses the line, they should, and will, end up either on suspension or maybe even kicked off-campus. But talk with many of the young men in fraternities at UF, and they will speak of brotherhood, a lifetime of friendships and access to leadership positions on campus. UF has the 4th largest fraternity system in the country with over 26 chapters. Rushing? For parents of incoming freshmen, you have probably started to hear about rushing […]

21 and Oh So Fun, Here is where to celebrate!

An official adult now! Have fun! As do many students, my daughter turned 21 in the fall of her junior year at UF. There’s a fun UF tradition where many girls, as they celebrate their 21st birthday, celebrate with what is called a Sign Night. It’s a night when their friends make a pasteboard sign — often large and glittery — that sums up their personality and jump-starts the birthday party.  Here are the favorite places that those 21 and over recommend when going out to have Happy-21st-style fun. DOWNTOWN The Arcade Bar – This is what happens when you combine a pub and a bar. This three-story bar has a bar on the first floor with TVs for Gator fans, a wraparound mezzanine overlooking the first floor with classic arcade games, hockey and more, and a full-service bar with foosball, pinball, skeeball on the third level. They also have an outdoor […]

Transferring to UF

Better late than never. Transferring requirements. Some students leave for college unsure of what to find and realize when they get there it is not the place for them. Perhaps too they never actually went away but had been living at home for college and are now ready to go away.  If transferring to UF is something your student is considering, they can start by checking out the requirements here. Note: the first condition is the completion of an Associate of Arts degree from a Florida public institution or a minimum of 60 transferable semester credit hours from a regionally accredited institution (except for AA applicants from Florida community college enter based on articulation agreement). If students are applying with less than 60 credit hours, or have completed a bachelor’s degree, you are not eligible for the on-campus program but can apply for a UF Online Program or Graduate, Professional or post-baccalaureate […]

So your student wants to be a Gator?

So your student wants to be a Gator? That’s understandable – Time Magazine ranked UF as the best school in Florida. UF is a great university right down to the beautiful brick buildings and deep-seated traditions and is brimming with opportunity. The question is, how does your son or daughter become a Gator? I remember back to 2008 when I went to a UF Alumni event titled, “How to get your child into UF.” The takeaway was that most of us in that room would not meet their current admission standards (hard to hear but so accurate). Then, they were moving from being a selective admittance school to very selective. Today, UF is extremely selective, looking not only at grades and test scores but student involvement, leadership roles, and an essay that stands out is personal and shows why the student stands out as well. Record High for Applications Applications reached a […]


Paws at UF I cannot begin to tell you how many times my kids have called from college saying they want to buy or foster a dog or cat. “Oh mom, you should see how cuuuute they are.” So far, in as much as they mention this regularly, they have not gone through with it yet. Perhaps it is my bombarding them with questions about whether they can have it in their apartment, where will it go when they leave for college breaks, who will watch this pet or pay for the care of this pet. But, every time I visit them at college, I am amazed at how many students actually have adopted pets (of course from a rescue or from the local humane society). Don’t get me wrong. I love animals; especially cats ….and so do my kids. Yet, I am not a big fan of students adopting pets when […]

Trouble in Paradise

Your Student got in trouble, now what? Is your student having trouble or in trouble? Are they having problems with a roommate, an apartment lease, underage drinking, academic troubles including plagiarism, parking tickets and so on? You send your student off to college with the best of intentions. You’ve had the discussion about budgets, walking alone at night, binge drinking, hazing, and drugs. You’ve even discussed being a good roommate and following the University’s code of conduct. But, there are situations that do come up no matter how responsible and mature your student is. The first thing you should do is breathe and remain calm because, chances are, your student is freaking out. Remember, they are still navigating adulthood. At the University of Florida, there is an on-campus service that offers a full range of legal services, such as consultation, assistance with traffic citations and criminal traffic charges, and even representation in […]

Radio and TV Stations Are you watching?

Media Stations Media touches all of our lives, TV, Radio, Internet, there are lots of options that we call our favorites. For students coming from larger cities who are accustomed to nationally syndicated stations, rest assured, there are plenty of radio stations in Gainesville that will meet your listening tastes. Country music is very popular in the South but the major stations are as follows: Radio WJLF – 91.7 – Christian Contemporary WNDT – 92.5 – Classic Rock WOGK – 93.7 – Country WKTK- 98.5 – Adult Contemporary WXJZ – 100.9 – Top 40 WRUF – 103.7 Country (University of Florida) WYKS – 105.3 – Top 40 There are many other stations but their signals are fairly weak. Many of these stations broadcast its audio on the internet so you may be able to pick up the stations that way. For many students, they listen to streaming music and with free wifi […]

Away for the High Holidays

Celebrate High Holidays with a New Community Generally, our kids get to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for those who celebrate the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, it may be your first one without your students at your holiday table. While it may feel strange having that empty seat, it can feel better to know that they are celebrating the high holidays with a new community of their peers. There are options for Jewish students at UF. You may want to let them know they exist and then hope that they will choose to participate. Time Off Not all colleges give days off for every holiday and it doesn’t look like UF is any different. Students can certainly inform their professors, in advance, of their absence for the holiday, but chances are class will go on and they will be responsible for any work. Even if they do get a day […]

Dance Marathon

You Can Dance If You Want To Perhaps you have seen the Facebook or Instagram posts from your student or friends’ kids that say #FTK or #ForTheKids. Maybe you’ve noticed fundraising pages for an event called Dance Marathon.  You might even have seen the word marathon and quickly averted your eyes to anything that might resemble having to run more miles than you walk in a week. Fear not! They are all referring to the same amazing event, and this is one marathon you’ll definitely want to join. Whether you have a student at UF or just have an affinity for the Orange and Blue, you will definitely want to share in this event, donate to this event, and encourage any UF student you know to get involved in this event. This is college philanthropy at its best. Created to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 1991, the Marathons […]