The Flip Side of Studying Abroad: What the Brochures Won’t Tell You

You’ve seen the brochures. You’ve obsessed over a frenemy’s Facebook pictures. Traveling to a foreign location is very well may be on everyone’s college bucket list. But there’s a lot more to studying abroad than fancy beach getaways and double-tap-worthy selfie opportunities. Here are some things to consider before diving into an international excursion:

You may not get along with all of the students on the trip. 
Depending on your program, you may be traveling and/or living with students who aren’t from your normal group of friends; they may not even be your age or from your school. While many students come back from study abroad trips with great new friendships, there’s a chance you won’t click with your group.

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This is the way the semester ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.

The last few weeks have been crazy hectic. All of you incoming freshmen: know that IB exams, high school finals, and AP exams ain’t got nothin’ on college finals week — it’s pretty much the bottom of the trough in the college happiness index graph. But now, recuperated by a healthy diet of good nights’ sleep and multiple home cooked meals, I write to you my last post as a First-year honors blogger (*cries*).

College is a time of change, as written in every cliche college guidebook ever written. Here are a few of the changes I’ve observed in myself, from the major to the trivial.

I never thought I’d…

Regularly drink coffee. I was never a coffee drinker, and I still don’t consider myself dependent on the caffeine fix like a lot of my friends, but there is a strange comfort in drinking an over-sugared, over-creamed, iced mocha coffee when you’re plugging away at Study Edge videos at Library West. To incoming freshmen, I bequeath unto thee this sage advice: don’t waste your time or money with the $5 Starbucks like I did the entire first semester. The 3- to 6- pm Dunkin’ Donuts $0.99 happy hour is where it’s at.

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Being Women at UF

Although UF was originally a male-exclusive institution, we’ve definitely come a long way since its inception. Today, women outnumber men at a 54/46 ratio! To wrap up Women’s History Month, here’s a brief run-through of the current services and communities available to female students at UF:

Clubs
UF has a plethora of women-specific societies and clubs that range from career-oriented to the volunteer- and outreach-committed. Here are just a few examples:

  • Society for Women Engineers: In a profession historically dominated by men, SWE’s mission statement promises to strive to “inform, assist, and encourage women wishing to pursue a career in engineering.”

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7 Weird Apps You’ve Probably Never Heard Of


“There’s an app for that,” is a gospel truth for our generation. From apps that tell you the best time to get up during a movie for a restroom break to ones that threaten to publicly humiliate you when you miss out on a gym day, it feels like the App Store has your back in any situation. However, because of the sheer number of apps out there – as of October 2013, there are more than 1 million – there are bound to be a few strange ones. Here are some of the weirdest apps I found:

1. iVoodoo ($2.99): If you’ve ever felt the need to covertly curse your enemies with bodily harm, this app is for you. The app supports up to five dolls at one time and lets you choose pins and the location at which you’d like to stick ‘em. If you’re a well-wisher, fret not because you can also choose to stick your chosen dolls with positive vibes, such as power, success, and love.

 

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Pictorial Analysis of Freshman Year Occurrences with Real Quantifiable Data (lol jk)

I know, it feels way too early to even begin wrapping up freshman year. But, with UF acceptances for the class of ’18 already out, as well as future Honors Program students awaiting acceptances, it definitely feels like we are getting pushed out of our “freshman baby gator” status at an alarming pace. So, in honor of said nostalgia, here is a compilation of the tips, advice, and #realtalk that I wish someone had given me before I came to college, for the benefit of all of the future freshies. After extensive research, I bequeath upon thee the data that gives you the run-down on the actual freshman experience. If you’d like to see all of the algorithms I developed and raw data I acquired, you can check it out here.

Slide2

Humility is what will save you a lot of grief as you try to navigate the ridiculously large community of the many passionate, dedicated, and accomplished people on campus. If you keep trying to compare and rank yourself among them, you will always feel inadequate. Sounds crazy depressing, but I promise, it can honestly be a good thing. I am always so proud of, and motivated by the accomplishments of my peers, and just seeing the possibilities and opportunities that are available to students like us is such an empowering experience.

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This was the most viewed post of all time, on the UF Honors: The First Year blog! (March 15, 2014)

The 14 Stages of Pulling an All-Nighter, as Told by Game of Thrones

1. It’s 8 p.m., and your motivation is at its peak. You’re ready to beast-mode your way through this essay like it’s nobody’s business.

2. However, as time progresses with slow work output, you can feel your productivity level tanking and your motivation slipping.

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Battle of the Books: Group Studying vs. Solo Studying

With midterms heading our way, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out the most efficient methods of studying and preparing for those dreaded exams. If you’re debating whether or not to form a study group, here are the pros and cons of both studying in groups and studying alone:

Group Studying

Pros:  

  • You can learn by teaching others, which is one of the best ways to retain new information, while simultaneously helping someone else out.
  • Your study group can hold you accountable for when you get distracted by Facebook during your study session.
  • Study buddies can provide motivation – seeing your peers on top of their assignments and material for the class will make you want to keep up with them.
  • You’re forced to start studying well in advance of an exam instead of cramming everything the day before because you have to schedule times to meet as a group.

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