Students were photographed in accordance with CDC guidelines and UF policies on masking and physical distancing.
Raeza Horn-Muller is a third-year sociology and sustainability studies major at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Vasishta Akinapalli is a first-year engineering major at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering from Tampa, Florida.
Horn-Muller and Akinapalli met in a peer mentoring program of U Matter, We Care, an initiative at the University of Florida to support students’ holistic well-being. On campus, the two enjoy playing basketball and spending time outside.
We asked them about their experiences at UF, their perfect day on campus and their advice for students deciding where to go to college.
Q: Why did you decide to come to UF?
Akinapalli: A lot of my friends came here, and out-of-state schools were a bit too expensive.
Horn-Muller: For me, a lot of people in my family went here. Since I’m from Florida and I got Bright Futures, it was kind of the most economical decision. I spent a lot of time at UF as a kid and I’m a UF fan, so it just made sense for me.
Before I went here, I spent a lot of time going to basketball games or, because my sister went here, I went to her graduation and things like that. I was obviously pretty impressed. I thought it was a nice a feel here on campus. It felt kind of like a potential home.
Because I didn’t really see too many colleges growing up, I was automatically like, “Wow, this is pretty different from high school.” But I definitely like the campus feel. I like all the trees we have here – I think that’s very unique to UF and Gainesville in general, so that was definitely part of the appeal for me.
Could you describe what a perfect day on campus might look like for you?
A: Probably waking up a bit later and getting food and then going to classes for a while and then coming outside and playing basketball for a while and just hanging out.
HM: For me, pretty similar but I like to get up a little bit earlier. I’d say the big thing is the weather – probably like 70 degrees and sunny with maybe a little bit of wind is pretty much my favorite climate. I want to spend a lot of time outside, so walking around campus, maybe a class or two. Playing some basketball, Spikeball or anything like that is also fun.
Do you have any advice for high school students deciding where to go to college?
A: Don’t panic, you’ll get into somewhere. Just get ready for it over the summer. During that time, I started setting stuff up and I tried to live by myself practically – cooking my own food, cleaning my own bathroom and things like that.
HM: It has been a little bit longer since then for me, but if I could go back in time, I’d probably say I think I was a little bit too relaxed when I came into college. Maybe like a bit more preparation. Kind of like Vasishta was saying: figuring out how to do laundry, cook actual meals and getting a little bit of experience in that regard.
And then, just find out things about campus. But I think a lot of it really is just trial and error. Like for me, it was very experimental in the fact that I would just go and try things to see what was for me. But just have the confidence to actually go out there and like do things is really important.
Learn more about the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UF.
Learn more about the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.
Learn more about the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
Learn more about U Matter, We Care.