The Honors Gator Walk By: Ryan Romero

Starting college is always a fun and exciting time in any person's life. Attending the University of Florida is no exception! These next four years will be some of the best of your life, so get ready to jump into the action. Although being a Gator is something incredibly special on its own, there is another great group within the University of Florida: the Honors Gators. Getting accepted into the UF Honors Program is something to be very proud of. However, there is a lot you will need to know to get acclimated to your new lifestyle. Your freshman year will probably begin in Hume Hall, where most Honors Gators end up living. Hopefully, through this walk that is made especially for Honors students, getting accustomed to the Gainesville and Hume lifestyles will be nothing short of a breeze.

Your first stop on our Gator Walk will be the Graham Oasis, which is only a few minutes away from Hume Hall. This location features a Pod Market and "Chomp It" restaurant. Whether you are spending a late night studying, or just coming back from Midtown, this will no doubt be the spot you visit the most. The Pod Market side of this location is basically is a nicer version of a gas station, however the "Chomp It" side is a quick service dining location. Once you go over to the touch screen tablets at the front of the store, you can order whatever your heart desires to fill you up. Popular menu items include cheeseburgers, chicken tenders and grilled chicken sandwiches. Luckily, the Pod Market and Chomp It are open until 3 a.m. every single night.

Our next stop is the Baughman Center. This chapel and pavilion located on the edge of Lake Alice is used for meditation, contemplation, weddings and small entertainment events. The Baughman Center is one of the most elegantly crafted buildings on campus and has a view to match. Whenever you may be feeling stressed from the difficult load of being an Honors Gator, or just want a quiet place where you can do some work, this is the place where you can go. The path to reach the Baughman Center from Hume Hall is a nice walk along the edge of UF's famous Lake Alice. Make sure to look out for alligators along the way! Another popular stop along this path is the UF bat houses. Every day at dusk, you can see these winged creatures fly into the night. It definitely makes for an interesting sight!

Being an Honors Gator comes with a certain level of pressure regarding GPA and grades. This results in long days and nights in libraries and study rooms. However, switching up a study spot often makes the hard task of schoolwork much easier. Pascal's Coffeehouse is one of the best places to study due to the fact that it hardly feels like a study space. In fact, Pascal's is also a great place to read a book, meet with a friend or just grab a coffee. The layout of the space is reminiscent of a ski lodge, with natural light flooding into the building. Warm colors and wood decor provide the ultimate ambiance for your studying needs as well. The only downside for Honors Gators is that Pascal's is about a 15 minute walk from Hume Hall, which is farther than some other study spaces. However, due to its convenient midtown location, it's one of the best study spaces/coffee houses near campus.

Our final stop on our way back through campus is the infirmary building. Oddly enough, this is where the UF Honors building is located, despite many believing it is located in Hume Hall. Although you probably will not need to visit this building often, it is always good to know exactly where it is located in case you ever need to stop by. Most of the time you will spend here will probably be for advising, which is another great perk of being an Honors student. Honors advisors are available for you whenever you need them, with a deep understanding and experience for what it is like to be an Honors Gator. To reach the Honors office, just enter the infirmary and take the elevator to the third floor. The infirmary is one of the only places on campus that offers free Gatorade, so definitely take the opportunity to chug some down when you go visit!

We are finally back at Hume Hall! Although our Honors Gator Walk was a bit long (especially on a hot Gainesville day), every location we stopped at is no more than a 15 minute walk away from Hume Hall, making it easily accessible depending on where you would like to go. Each of these places was picked out especially with Honors Gators in mind, and we hope it will help you out when you move to Gainesville. We can't wait for you to join us!

Photo Credits: University of Florida, Grande Gainesville, and WeddingWire

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