“College was the best time of my life.” In adolescence, we face an insurmountable amount of pressure to have key experiences that supposedly define our lives. By choosing PaCE, you’re already going against this trend. It’s a changing world, and just because your experience will be different doesn’t mean it won’t be an experience nonetheless.

People judging you

One of my biggest fears before entering as a PaCE student was that I wouldn’t feel like a part of the student body. In fact, after receiving my acceptance letter, I had this warped idea that I wasn’t actually accepted. This may sound cliche, but I can confidently say I feel 100% the same as the rest everybody else. I often forget I’m PaCE. I mean, I have the same professors and stuff as my friends so I don’t really feel very different. Most days I’m on campus longer than my traditionally admitted roommates.

Regardless, UF still wanted you. You can join the same clubs, compete for the same internships, and walk the very halls other students do. Don’t see yourself as any different and no one else will either. A lot of PaCE students are even more involved than regular students because of the usefulness of a flexible schedule. When people see your involvement they aren’t going to consider PaCE, rather, they’ll naturally see you as hard-working. Despite this, the fact that you’re PaCE rarely even comes up in conversation. It isn’t a defining factor of your education, so don’t go in with that mindset.

But I want to live in a dorm

Okay, um… why? Perhaps your parents told you anecdotal stories about their memories from living in a dorm, and as a result of this, the idea of living in one becomes a “must-do” thing. Obviously with the PaCE program, living in a dorm is not an option. However just because you’re not in a dorm doesn’t mean you’re not going to have roommates. You can still eat chicken nuggets on your floor at 1 a.m., and digress in long chats about boys, or politics, etc. You can find roommates from your high school that are going to UF or the class Facebook page.

Based off personal experience, many people actually end up moving into an apartment after their freshman year because of the uncomfortable nature of dorm life. Having an apartment often ends up being cheaper and more pleasant. You don’t have to live in a dorm to experience a dorm. You’ll likely make friends that have dorms and visit there frequently (only to thank god you’re going back home to your apartment). Apartments in college-towns, furthermore, offer amenities similar to that of a dorm. These include socials, activities, free food, etc. Utilities (water, electricity, internet, etc.) are also often taken care of in your month’s rent, however it ultimately depends on the apartment.

Making friends

College isn’t the same as high school. Sometimes you could take a class and never speak to any other students. Where you truly meet people in college is through involvement. Join clubs, sports, perhaps even rush a fraternity or sorority.
The times at UF I’ve had so far have been incredible(I do live in the Gainesville region) . I personally don’t feel as if PaCE has intervened with my ability to a “genuine experience”. It can be scary to try something new, and go against the almost inevitable path that is laid out in a seemingly monotonous society. Don’t let the prospect of going against the crowd keep you from doing something great, because there surely will be ~fun times~.