#enosthetic Hammocking UF

College is one of the most stressful and hectic times in a person's life. As students, we tend to lose track of days, overload our calendars and push away the concept of free time. So how can we escape? I found my answer in nature on campus; my answer is to hammock.

The University of Florida is surrounded by some of the most pristine locations in Florida. However, many students overlook the immense beauty on and around our campus. I feel that the best way to really experience the ecosystem within our community is to set up a hammock and either self-reflect or bond with friends. My hammock of choice is an Eno, and throughout my time at UF it has provided me with countless hours of meditation and relaxation; my hammock has been both a social outlet and a way to catch up on studies.

When people visit Gainesville to take a campus tour, they always start at the Reitz; that makes it the perfect place to start this hammock tour.

The Reitz Union is at the heart of student life here on campus at UF. It’s where we buy our textbooks, eat lunch, bowl with friends, attend conferences, or even get a haircut. There’s a pond behind the Reitz that’s a reflection of Florida’s ecosystem; with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking it, the pond provides students with a great view while they eat lunch between classes. Although, I think the view outside is better.
Any picture of the skyline of UF would be virtually empty were it not for Beaty Towers. The students that currently call, or have previously called, Beaty home can attest to how much dorm life has contributed to their college experience. Sometimes though, we all just need a little time away from our roommates; luckily, with an Eno and a couple palm trees (which are everywhere), that isn’t hard to do. One of my favorite spots to hammock on the east side of campus also has an incredible view of Beaty Towers.
Whenever setting up alongside this pond tucked between Little Hall and the College of Design, Construction & Planning, it’s important to always be careful not to trip on the slope one of the trees is on. There probably aren’t a whole lot of things more embarrassing than tumbling into a pond in front of your peers. Once the Eno is hung and you can jump in, you’re instantly surrounded by a variety of trees and vegetation. Out of all the places on campus I’ve been able to hammock, this one is one of the most rewarding.
Lake Alice is the perfect representation of the term “#GatorNation”. Any time I stop my bike and set up to hammock between these palm trees, something in the back of my head keeps telling me to look twice at the ripples in the water and make sure there aren’t any alligators around. The lake itself is protected; there’s no swimming or boating allowed. That means the only things moving around in the lake are fish, turtles and alligators; it also means this is one of the quietest and most serene places on campus to watch the sunset.
Home of picnics, hammock outings and Krishna lunch, Plaza of the Americas is one of the most frequented places at UF. It sits right in between Library West and the University Auditorium/Century Tower, making it a great location to just sit and have coffee with a friend while listening to the carillon bells between classes. UF has a club devoted entirely to hammocking, and many of its members can be found together at Plaza on any given day. If you’re lucky enough to grab a nice spot in Plaza to hammock (especially when there’s construction going on), then it makes for a great snapshot of life under a canopy of trees.
Century Tower truly is the heart of the University of Florida. Built in 1953, this massive carillon tower serves as a memorial for UF students and alumni that died in World War I and World War II. The carillon bells at the top of the tower are one of four sets in Florida; during normal school days, the bells chime each quarter of the hour. The feeling of walking through campus while the bells chime and the breeze blows can’t be matched; the only thing that can make it better is being in a hammock.
Our tour ends as it should: with a view of Broward Pool; summer days at UF can be brutal, and after a three-hour lab block you may be feeling like the end is near. Luckily, there’s a pool and a Chick-Fil-A within eyeshot of each other and within walking distance of most dorms/classes. With those types of amenities, an infirmary almost isn’t necessary. Many students walk by this spot every day, which means it isn’t the best place to hammock if you’re looking to be alone; however, the art of hammocking doesn’t always involve just one person.

Every student at the University of Florida has a different aspect of campus that stands out to them. The natural landscape doesn’t always cross students’ minds as a part of campus that’s here to be explored; having a hammock means that I’m able not only to explore the environment around me, but to relax while doing it. Some days, it seems like I spend more time in my hammock than I do in class.

I’ve used this tour to highlight some of my favorite places on campus to set up my Eno and relax, but I can’t even count how many I’ve missed. So now it’s up to you, as a member of the Gator community, to fill in the blanks. Get out of the library, or your dorm, or wherever it is that you find yourself zoning out while reading a textbook. There’s an entire ecosystem around you, waiting to be explored and enjoyed in a hammock.



PC: David Jones

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