There are certain experiences that bond UF students — doing the Gator chomp at football games, taking pictures in front of the gator statues, studying late at Library West — but perhaps the most important hallmarks of belonging to any community are the inside jokes you make along the way. If you’re not in on these UF jokes, here’s a quick list of some of the essentials.
Black “banana”: Long story short, a typo in a UF alert about a potential threat on campus made it seem like the culprit was wearing a “black banana” instead of a “black bandana.” Cue enthusiastic statuses and yaks about this threatening banana. It still resurfaces on Yik-Yak every once in a while.
Student Government election week: Every Gator is familiar with the two weeks in which eager Student Government officials will try to force you to take a detour to the nearest voting center. Freshmen are the easiest targets because they don’t know any better, but for those of us who are well-seasoned, we know to avoid eye contact and wear headphones. Whether you vote Impact/Swamp/Access/Squirrel/Taco Libre, there’s no denying how intense this week gets.
Reitz Union renovations: The Reitz has been under renovation since my freshman year, with the date for completion being pushed back each semester. Even though it’s said to open within the next month, one can never be too sure. Maybe those of you who are freshman will actually be able to enjoy the fully renovated Reitz, but I can’t guarantee any promises.
“I’m a junior by credits”: If you’ve never heard a freshman say this to you, you’ve lucked out. It is the most common greeting of UF freshmen. News flash for all freshmen who proclaim this: Practically everyone is a junior by credits. You are not special. Eventually, you too will start to roll your eyes when you hear this.
Everyone starts out pre-med or engineering: It’s almost sad. Wide-eyed freshmen enter UF, convinced they are going to be revolutionary doctors and engineers, but once they take Chem 1 or Calc 2, they quickly realize just how utterly foolish they are. If you’re a freshman pursuing one of these paths, glance around your next class and try to see who’s going to be around next semester.
Navigating Turlington: Turlington Plaza is one monster to tackle. It’s packed during class changes and someone is trying to hand you a flier every ten feet . Occasionally people start to dance. There’s always that annoying person who thinks it’s a good idea to bike through the masses of people. And then there’s the actual Turlington building itself. They probably told you during Preview that it won some award for best use of space, but that building is confusing. There are hallways that wrap around themselves and doors that open to nowhere.
Turlington criers: There seems to always be a loud, vocal person in Turlington Plaza, yelling about their beliefs. Sometimes people ignore them, but occasionally they draw a crowd as they rant on about controversial topics. And amidst the people who are just casually listening or taking videos for social media, there’s always one person who decides to engage the person. If anything, these outbursts provide a source of entertainment when you’re rushing between classes.
Balls: Ah, Balls — the quintessential staple of Midtown nightlife. The distinct smell of Balls lingers in the air even during the daytime hours. I’ve personally never set foot in there, but I hear it comes up on your credit card charge as “Balls Bookstore.”
Pizza by the Slice: This convenient go-to on a night out is known by most students as “Pizza by the Slice,” but something that I didn’t even know about until last year is that it’s actually called The Italian Gator. Whatever it’s called, we shall certainly miss it on our late nights while it undergoes renovations.
Sakai: For those of you who aren’t familiar with Sakai, it was the original e-Learning interface. There’s been talk of completely migrating over to Canvas since probably before 2013, but for some reason, it’s just never taken off. Currently on the e-Learning site, there’s a countdown to “bye-bye Sakai.” Will we actually ever leave Sakai behind? Who knows? Probably not.
If you’ve smiled and nodded at every item on this list, then you are probably a full-fledged Gator. Otherwise, it’s a good thing you’ve gotten yourself educated and you can now spread the knowledge among your friends.
Photo Credit: www.hercampus.com