Hey! Congrats on becoming an Eagle and welcome to the Nest! I know this is a new part of your life, and it's probably both scary and exciting. As a current orientation team member I'm here to give you five tips and tricks to make the most out of the next four years at FGCU that will hopefully ease your mind and make you even more excited!
1. The campus feels smaller than it actually is.
Florida Gulf Coast University is home to nearly 14,000 undergraduate students and lives on 700 acres of land. That sounds huge, I know, but campus and housing is closer to each other than you think and most classes have a ratio of 22:1 (meaning most classes have 22 students for every one professor.) There are some classes that are in bigger lecture halls with more students but most are the average size of classes in a high school. Campus housing is also surrounded by buildings for students in similar years; for example, South Village is home to freshmen, so you can easily connect with your peers in the same class as you.
2. You can walk or bike anywhere on campus.
Everything on campus is close enough to walk or bike if you want to get out of your room and not have to wait for the student shuttles. It is about a 10-15 minute walk from SoVi (South Village) to the library and main campus. The walks are always nice, well, if the weather is good. Plus, you can always get nice pictures if you're walking during sunrise or sunset.
3. Eat local if you can.
Yes, if you live in SoVi, there's the dining hall. And off-campus has a ton of chain restaurants that you can eat at, but I suggest trying out the local places. Fort Myers has plenty of places to eat that are local and great. Here's some of the best places to go: Wicked Wings and Things, Wally's Deli, Iguana Mias, Dixie's Fish Company, and The Boat House Under The Bridge. I'd be lying if I said that I never eat at McDonald's or Chipotle, but it's always best to give a new place that's local a try.
4. Get involved on campus.
Whether it's going to campus events, events put on by your RA's, a campus job, or club/intramural sports, get involved. You'll meet great people and make great friends and memories in the process. Go to games for one of our 15 NCAA sports teams, like basketball or soccer. Go to events on the library lawn - not only will you get to learn new things about what's offered on campus, but you will also make memories that will last a lifetime.
5. All in all, make the best of your four years.
This is a new chapter in your story that can seem scary and overwhelming, but if you just make the best of it (while still focusing on your classes), then it'll be the best four years of your life. Florida Gulf Coast University has a beautiful campus that is surrounded by plenty of things to do and great chances to make memories with the friends that you meet along the way. So, just take a breath on your first day and get ready for the best years of your life. Wings up!