I've lived in Tampa since I was five years old, so when I graduated high school, there was nothing I wanted more than to leave town. I was so set on starting over in a new town, but when college admissions didn't agree with me, I had to change my plan.
I started USF with a bad attitude and the thought of transferring after two years. USF was my last choice, only because I thought I saw all of Tampa and wasn't impressed. I remember standing in line at my graduation and a boy next to me told me I "settled with a community college." I also got judged by people for staying at home, which didn't help my decision.
After my first two weeks at USF, my thoughts changed. I was hooked on the positive atmosphere and the genuine people. That's when I finally chose USF.
An old high school friend talked down to me, because she doesn't know how small schools work. But my school isn't small. She didn't know, because she never gave my university the time of day. She also didn't know that it feels like home at USF. A lot of people I grew up with talk negatively about my school and Tampa, whether they go here or not. I was scared I wouldn't have the college experience since I didn't live in the dorms and stayed at home my first two years, but that's just a myth. I was able to have the comfort of family and friends all within 10 miles. I was also able to discover more of the city, by going to downtown or finding hidden gems, and it finally made me feel like Tampa was my home.
Staying in the same town for college wasn't the worst decision I ever made, it was actually one of the best. I absolutely love my school and it breaks my heart when I hear it is someones "last resort school."
Even though it wasn't my first choice and I was really sure I'd hate it, it quickly changed. I found my lifelong friends, I fell in love, and I did it all at this school.
So, if this is your first year at USF and you didn't want to come here, at least give it a chance. Put yourself out there and meet people. Explore all of what Tampa has to offer. I can promise you, that it isn't as bad as you think. Just don't spend your first year shutting people and opportunities out, because you think you weren't meant to be a Bull. I have so many great memories just from my first semester at USF alone, don't waste yours.
And as always, go Bulls!