Gems Around USF Campus

Gems Around USF Campus

Definitely check this out if you are new to the area!

If you are new to the USF area or are just looking for something different, keep reading! A huge part of the college experience is finding wonderful places to explore and eat around the area. Whether it’s a cozy coffee shop, a delicious pizza place, or a fun day activity, Tampa definitely has a lot of places and events to experience. In this article, I will give you some places to check out on your next free day and some tips to help you along the way. Because whether mom or dad like it or not, you won’t be studying all the time.

1. Felicitous

If you enjoy a wonderfully made coffee and/or tea, Felicitous is the coffee shop for you! I have been too many times to count and haven't gotten a bad thing there. Cuddled away behind a strip mall, Felicitous serves the best drinks and makes you feel right at home with a comfortable setting and mix-match mugs. They also have open-mic nights a couple times a month. It's a must.

2. Oxford Exchange

Not only can you get super cute basic photos here, the food is phenomenal. It's a tad pricey, but you get a huge portion and five-star quality. It can be super busy so call ahead to make a reservation. After your meal, you can enjoy a pastry or coffee by Buddy Brew. Then take a stroll around the bookstore while feeling oh-so-cosmopolitan.

3. SoHo Donuts

Around the corner from OE, a glorious donut shop cooks up the best treats. I'm pretty sure they make a donut with every cereal known to man, and they are always fresh and soft. You say now you will only get one donut, but as soon as you step foot in that place, you will know that isn't possible.

4. Datz and Dough

If you have a little extra cash in your pocket and are looking for a hearty meal and monstrous dessert, check this place out. This restaurant and bakery are connected. So when you are too full to function off mouth-watering burgers from Datz, walk on over to Dough and grab yourself a donut ice cream cone. And just forget calories for a day, okay?

5. Vallarta's

All I can say is, "Dollar tacos" (For lunch every Wednesday and Tuesday).

6. The Dali Museum

After you stuff yourself senseless with food, check out this beautiful museum in St.Pete. It may be a bit of a drive but it is totally worth it. USF students get in free, and who doesn't like free? I may be a bit biased as an art major, but the paintings are mind-boggling and worth seeing.

7. Paddle Boarding at USFSP

Time to burn those calories from all those tasty meals! Head on over to USFSP where students can enjoy free paddle boarding. If you aren't into that, they do offer kayaking and sailing lessons! Take advantage of the beautiful scenery.

8. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

The FMoPA, in downtown Tampa, is free for students with an encouraged five dollar donations. Photography is my medium of choice, and I absolutely love this museum. And not only is the museum awesome, so is the surrounding blocks. After a nice stroll in the museum, head on over across the street and stumble upon cute cafes, yummy NY style pizza, and antique book shops.

9. Pizza Squared

Okay, I know the area might look a little sketchy, but sketchy places are where you find the best food. Pizza Squared offers Detroit-style pizza, and it is totally delicious. Tip: they offer student discount.

10. Ybor

Yes, this is a whole city in itself but it is stuffed with hidden gems. Ybor is great for dancing, tattoos, coffee, pizza, cigars, slushies, and whatever else you can think of. Grab a group of friends and head over one evening and explore. A crazy night in Ybor is kind of a must for USF students.


1. Make sure you ask places if they have student discounts! They may not advertise it but offer it.

2. If you are going clubbing and are a lady, a lot of clubs offer free charge for ladies before a certain time.

3. Most of the time, the more sketchy a place looks, the better food they have.

4. The school and satellite locations offer tons of free events and services for USF students.

5. If you have family visiting, a lot of surrounding hotels will give USF parent discount if you come show your ID at check-in.

6. It is possible to ball on a budget! A lot of places in the area are free or discounted for students.

7. Don't eat dinner until later some nights. A lot of restaurants offer cool deals after 10 or 11pm.

Cover Image Credit: CP Tampa West Shore

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.


So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?



Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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You Should 100 Percent Not Go Out To Eat If You're NOT Going To Tip 18 Percent, Or More

My current summer job is serving at a restaurant and it is the first serving job I have ever had. Here is what I have learned so far, in terms of tipping.


Being a server can be the best job at times and the worst job at times.

Most servers only make between 3 and 3.50 hourly, we rely solely on tips.

There is nothing more disappointing than picking up the check from a table and seeing that they tipped you under 20 percent. I would say a good rule of thumb is to always tip your server 20 percent unless you have a valid reason not to. If their service was truly terrible, then tip them under, but when their service was good and the meal was good too, you have no reason not to tip 20 percent.

I've been serving about 2 weeks now and I have been undertipped or not tipped at all several times.

I'm still learning as I go, but I think I am a good server. I always greet my customers, offer input on the menu, and constantly check on them during the meal. I can confidently say that I think I am worth a 20 percent tip. When I see that someone did not tip me what they should have, it's upsetting. I always wonder what I could have done to earn a better tip but the fact is that some people are just oblivious.

Some people are not aware that you are supposed to tip 18 percent as the bare minimum.

When I don't receive a tip at all, it feels like a waste of time. I put in your orders, brought your food to you, made sure you were enjoying my meal, constantly offered my services, and you don't tip me? Not tipping your server is just plain rude.

There are always some people that tip over 20 percent so, for the most part, it evens out between these people and those who do not tip, but there is no excuse for not tipping your server.

In conclusion, don't eat out if you are not going to leave a decent tip for your server.

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