Moving is never easy, making the change by yourself at a young age with the added pressure of sports/college classes can be difficult. As a Gator Gymnast from Texas, I remember beginning my college career at the age of 17 just before the spring semester began. During that first semester I remember feeling overwhelmed, excited, and a bit homesick at times—which is why I wanted to provide a few stories from some of my fellow athletes about their first experiences living the college lifestyle at Florida.


 Rachel Spicer, a junior on the gymnastics team, moved from Texas in January of 2012 at the age of 17.

“Let’s see, freshmen year… quite a learning experience! I had to learn how to be independent for everything: managing money, time for school, and finding the correct foods to eat. At home it was easier; my Mom would put the correct portions in front of me and find the correct nutrients for my diet. Looking back at freshmen year, I have grown so much as a person. I’ve learned what foods and the right times to eat for my body. I discovered how much studying I need in order to get the grades I wanted in school and much more!”

Najee Glass

Najee Glass, a sophomore Track & Field athlete from New Jersey, was able to give some helpful tips for incoming, out-of-state freshman athletes making the big college adjustment…

1.) For out-of-state athletes I would say do not procrastinate doing your work. As soon as an assignment is given to you, get started. It gives you more free time for your sport and other things you would like to do.

2.) Try to find your way around campus as soon as possible. Once you do that campus life will be much easier for you.

3.) Use all your resources. If you fail a class, you have no one else but yourself to blame because the OSL (Office of Student Life) can help you with any and everything you need as a student.

 4.) Make sure you keep in touch with your family; I got in trouble with my parents because I didn’t talk to them as often as I should have. You will be busy, but it won’t hurt to just call back home.

 5.) Try to get involved, don’t just stay in your sport’s circle—branch out and meet new people.

Hopefully hearing these stories and helpful hints gives you a taste of what to expect for the new school year as a Florida Gator. There will be some fantastic days and some days that you will want to catch the next flight home. But, the best thing to do is keep a positive attitude and reach out to any fellow Gator for advice or simply some friendly support. Everyone here is willing to help and the Gator community welcomes baby gators with open arms.

Keep Shining, Keep Smiling, and Keep on Grinding!

Liz “Lovejoy” Green

About Liz Green

Liz Green is a senior Telecommunications student at the University of Florida. Liz is a member of the Gators gymnastics team. You can follow her on Twitter/Instagram @lizlovejoy "Passions, when followed, draw the attention of the world..." #Blessed #GoGators 1Peter 3:3-4