This weekend I visited Gainesville for the first time ever. I will admit that, while I am a proud Cane, I was very excited to go to the number one party school in the nation and see the school I did not choose. After a tedious ride of almost six hours we finally arrived, and from the first moment I just felt overwhelmed.
“College town” is not the right name for Gainesville; it’s more of a small city with a huge college campus where I would’ve easily gotten lost without a guide. It takes a ridiculously long time to get to the campus because of crazy traffic, and once you do get there it takes another 45 minutes to find parking (and I thought parking here at UM was bad!). I decided to sit in a classroom and was surprised to see the lecture hall fit about 500 people and EVERY seat was filled. How does one deal with such a large class? How would my professor get to know me? In regards to living on campus, the dorm rooms are exactly the same (if not worse) than the ones our university offers. They have the same “prison look,” the bathrooms were small and foul-smelling, and the residence hall was located about 15 minutes away on foot. My friends who live off campus have nice, cheap apartments, but their commute is just as bad as commuting here in Miami.
Even though I was disappointed by the school itself I looked forward to meeting amazing people at night at one of their famous parties, but once again nothing impressed me. Everyone at the party was very drunk or high, therefore making it impossible to start a conversation, and by 2 a.m. everything was over. It ended before I even had a chance to enjoy myself.
One thing I do give the Gators credit for is their dedicated school spirit. Almost every car and person had “Gator Gear” and at the game the stadium was actually full, something you only see in Miami when we play FSU. The students know their fight songs and even though the “Gator Bait” clap is EXTREMELY annoying, seeing almost 90,000 people do it at once at the stadium was pretty impressive. Another quality was the fact that students did not leave until that final whistle was blown, while Miami fans had pretty much emptied the stands as they always do at every football game. School spirit is the only thing I feel Miami students lack.
All in all, I honestly do not regret my decision to attend the University of Miami. My classes are more personalized, the campus is beautiful and easy to get around, I will certainly meet different kinds of people with differing opinions because of our diversity (something Florida definitely does not have), and the nightlife in Miami is 1,000 times better than Gainesville will ever be. UM may be more expensive, but if that’s what all public schools are like, then it’s definitely worth the price.