College Spotlight: University of Florida
By Kelsey Jordan, Guest Contributor
Ranked No. 2 on Forbes’ 2016 list of Best Public Colleges nationwide, the University of Florida is one of the most valued universities for affordability, productivity, and student satisfaction.
And as a third-year journalism student deeply rooted in organizations like Greek life and student government, I can confidently say that I am proud to be a part of the Gator Nation.
When I started my college search, I didn’t know what to look for. Like many college students, I was only familiar with the stereotypes of college life from the movies. During my first visit, I encountered students who were enthusiastic about their career goals and energetic about the organizations they were involved in where they met friends they call family. I felt inspired as I listened to students’ share their stories of interning with newspapers abroad, going on international case competitions with classmates and taking advantage of the internships available near campus. Every student had a unique story. I wanted so desperately to feel that closeness to my university, and to be a part of a place with unlimited possibilities and on-fire individuals.
And now, I am. While there may be over 50,000 students, I can walk around our campus and can easily receive a smile and wave from a handful of people who I’ve met through organizations or classes. Every group project, society or internship has introduced me to students just like me, friendly and energetic to develop their gifts. That’s the sort of motivation that has pushed me to go the extra mile and never be afraid to ask for help when facing doubt or big challenges.
Even the city partakes in the spirit of opportunity, providing internships and jobs for students to stay and grow their careers. Businesses seek candidates from UF because they know they come with a high caliber of training that goes beyond the surface level education. I am continuously introduced to new ways to hone my skills outside classes, such as my internship at Trimark Properties, which provides Gainesville apartments for rent near campus to UF students. At Trimark Properties, I am learning cutting-edge marketing and communication strategies. With this unique experience under my belt, I have been offered internships with communications departments from Fortune 500 companies and am forever grateful for the opportunities that UF has given me.
Additionally, my classes push me farther than I would have dreamed and have led to me writing for our student-run newspaper, the Independent Florida Alligator and editing and producing web content for WUFT News, stationed inside the College of Journalism and Communications. I never feel like an opportunity is too far away from my grasp. Professors and students are always willing to lend me advice and connections to get me to the next step in where I want to go. Even when selecting classes, my older peers are guaranteed to have the best advice for helping shape my college experience into something more than just a diploma.
I couldn’t be more proud and thankful to be a part of a driven student body and city where businesses are seeking to utilize our campus as a resource for recruitment and growth. I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have today if it weren’t for UF’s forward-thinking classes and resources.
The community to grow confidence in your gifts is something that every student should experience, and at UF, I am not one in 50,000, I’m a Gator, and that’s something I get to celebrate every day. The University of Florida isn’t just Tom Hanks’ favorite football team or the place where Tim Tebow was discovered. It’s a home, a family, and it stretches far beyond the four years spent in Gainesville.