Take A Breather: Discover UF's 5 Most Relaxing Spots

College is stressful. We are all too familiar with the long nights at the library, stress eating at the dining halls, painful phone calls with financial aid and difficult decision making with advisors. College life consumes our lives, making us sometimes forget our surroundings. Sometimes we forget to just stop, take a breath and look around to see the beauty that is the University of Florida. My best friend Liza and I decided to check out some of these beautiful places around campus. Here are some of the best places at UF to find peace of mind and — simply put — take a deep breath.

1. Lake Alice Area

Lake Alice is exceptionally gorgeous to say the least. The water at midday shines so brightly that it’s impossible to take your eyes off of it. It entrances you with a mix of bright blues and vibrant greens that easily take your breath away. Lake Alice is a storm water retention lake located near the Lakeside area. It has become a symbol of the university with its high population of gators along with some other native Florida fauna.

Lake Alice is a great place to grab a friend from Lakeside and hang out with some fellow gators (real ones, though). While there, we saw a lot of joggers and people on picnics. I absolutely loved being there — it was the perfect day with the perfect friend. Whether you're in the mood for a heart-to-heart or just want to enjoy the silence — take in the sights around this beautiful lake with a friend or by yourself. 

2. Little Hall Pond

The Little Hall pond is a place I found on my first day of college. I fell in love with it quite soon into the year, and since then I have studied there, mediated there and even tailgated there. On a crisp, sunny day, it's the epitome of serenity.

It’s located right by the architecture building and across from Little Hall (hence the name). It’s a great spot for tailgating with some friends during football season and for studying during the off-season. It’s usually quiet around there, except for the five minutes before and after periods. You will definitely fall in love with this little (pun intended) secret spot.

3. Flavet Field

Sports have never been my thing. Playing sports has never been my thing, either, but I think I can make an exception at Flavet. The field is located right behind Keys, near fraternity row and by some of the sports fields. Oftentimes you can find people playing soccer or frisbee, but sometimes you’ll see football players practicing for the next big game. 

In addition to playing sports, catching concerts here is a UF must-do. Last semester alone my friends and I saw Walk the Moon, Joywave and Young the Giant on the Flavet stage. UF’s concerts are always very affordable (sometimes even free) and never uncomfortably crowded. Flavet is great for taking concert pictures before, during and after the performances! It’s even great to try out some of your own dance moves and singing skills with some friends.

4. University Gardens

This place is definitely on my secret list of places to go to now. I loved this place. When you’re out there in the gardens with the breeze from nearby Lake Alice gently hitting your face, you can truly feel serenity and peace. University Gardens was not what I was expecting, but I was certainly happy nonetheless. Located in between Lake Alice and fraternity row, this place is definitely a little gem on campus.

I’m from West Palm Beach, which is about four hours south of Gainesville. The landscape is extremely different than it is up here at UF. University Gardens was a real reminder of this for me, as back home we have different flora. Spanish moss is a rarity back home and fallen fall-colored leaves are non-existent. Being here during wintertime is wonderful and going back during the summer will surely be a completely different, yet wonderful, experience. 

5. Stadium

This one is somewhat expected. (Freshmen, beware: If you don’t take a photo with the Bull Gator in front of the stadium, you are doomed for the rest of your undergraduate years._ Make sure to take this classic photo for your Facebook page to show your family and to have a lucky four years! In all seriousness, though, the stadium on a non-game day is actually quite peaceful and a great place to take some deep breaths and enjoy feeling small in a big, empty space.

The University of Florida is quite beautiful, and I fear that sometimes I forget that. College life can consume us so much that we sometimes don't appreciate what our surroundings actually look like. If you ever have the time to take a breather and relax around campus, I highly suggest you go to these spots. Happy relaxing!