As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our loved ones, stuffing our faces with pie and watching football, let's take a moment to reflect upon some of the best things about being a member of the Gator Nation:
- A Strong Community: "In All Kinds of Weather We All Stick Together" isn't just a fun phrase sung in the Swamp. It is a cohesive emphasis on teamwork and cooperation that Gators demonstrate every day. If this kind of loyalty that defines our Gator community doesn't give you the warm and fuzzies, we don't know what will.
- Good Health: Recreation is a large part of student life, with over 60 intramural and club sports and some of the best facilities in the nation. With a multitude of fitness centers and wellness opportunities, UF is constantly developing health initiatives so that we can live long and happy lives.
- Great Art: It's what makes the world beautiful. We have so much of it here at UF, ranging from the impressive jade collection at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art to the bold graffiti messages sprawling across the 34th Street Wall.
- Donning Orange and Blue: To show our school spirit, we get to wear complementary colors that never go out of style.
- Cool Rocks: Who needs mashed potatoes, when we have THE Potato? Ok, not true. Mashed potatoes are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. Still, "The Potato" (actually a 30,000-year-old rock gifted to the geology department) is what makes Turlington Plaza such a cool meeting spot.
- Our Athletic Teams: As we settle in for a post-turkey coma in front of ESPN, take a moment to appreciate and reflect upon our own university's athletic prowess. Although it may fluctuate from year to year, our rankings are often something to praise, and our athletes are wonders to behold.
- People Willing to Teach: Even those students who sit on Facebook all class period. Luckily, that doesn't apply to us Gators, right? With our low student-faculty ratio of 25:1, there are so many opportunities to connect and learn from these wizards of wisdom.
- Sunshine: It's November and we are still wearing shorts. Relish in the envy of every resident of the Northeast tundra…they won't see warm days like this ‘til after Groundhog's Day.
- Freedom of Speech: The ability to voice opinions without consequence or fear is priceless. Our campus's Plaza of the Americas is the unofficial forum for individuals and organizations to present ideas in a safe space.
- Good Music: The melodic chimes of our iconic Century Tower serenade us every day. Feeling stressed about exams? The soothing sounds of the cast-bell carillon will ease your worries in no time.
- The Gator Good: Our university's brightest minds are working hard to solve the world's toughest challenges. With a dedicated community of so many innovative students, faculty and alumni, UF is leading the way toward greater global impact and positive change.
- Diversity: Everyone can sit at our table. The diversity of our students and faculty creates a welcome mix of racial and ethnic groups, thoughts and ideas, backgrounds and experiences. This melting-pot mixture offers Gators the opportunity to experience multicultural understanding, engage in new perspectives and challenge biases.
- Delicious Food: How did it take us so long to get to this one? Our campus offers such a wide array of dining options, it deserves its own post. The variety of cuisine that is available on or near campus makes the Freshman 15 an all too real possibility, even for those of us who are long past our first year. If you eat at one of our dining halls, here's one small piece of advice: just because there is an endless supply of cookies doesn't mean you should eat them all.
- Entertainment Galore: Gainesville's culture is a lively one, with so much opportunity to experience theatre, music, dance, museums and historic sites. There is always an event going on, so Gators are never bored.
- The Opportunity to Get an Outstanding Education: This is something that too many people across the globe don't get the chance to experience. Not only are our students some of the most driven and dedicated leaders of the next generation, as a Gator you're learning from the best mentors out there, too.
We could keep going, but what are YOU thankful for this holiday season?