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Mike Llerena is an SC Campus Representative for University of Florida. He is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in leadership.

Welcome to the University of Florida, home of the Gator Nation. Located in the heart of Gainesville, Fla., UF is Florida’s oldest and largest university. The school enrolls nearly 50,000 students annually. Incoming freshmen have more than 100 undergraduate  programs to choose from. Notable alumni include Gatorade inventor Robert Cade, MSNBC morning show host Joe Scarborough and  and 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte. In 2013, UF ranked 15th on a Forbes list of the best public universities.

For the last 28 years, UF has been consistently ranked among the nation’s 10 best athletic programs. The Gators have won  31 national team titles, including 22 since 1992.

University of Florida Football

(photo credit: gtmcknight via photopin cc)

But enough about sports. For those of you who aren’t looking to be the next Tim Tebow, UF also has a vibrant campus life, boasting more than 975 student organizations. Our clubs cover everything from biomedical engineering to hip-hop music to skydiving (yep, skydiving). Check out the full list of available clubs here.

University of Florida Library

(photo credit: futursonic via photopin cc)

This is Library West, one of the more prominent libraries on campus. Unlike many of its counterparts, Library West is open 24/7, which will definitely help you out come exam week. The library even has an in-house Starbucks that is also open 24/7. All you need is a comfortable chair and you’re ready to pull that all-nighter for your chemistry midterm.

UF is not a university that lacks aesthetic appeal. While lush trees and old-school brick buildings cover most of the campus, there is also the occasional gem. Case in point: “The French Fries.” This statue, known more formally as “Alachua,” is an endearing fixture outside the doors of Marston Science Library.

University of Florida French Fries

(photo credit: Gregory Moine via photopin cc)

There you have it, folks: your crash course on life in The Swamp. Check back next week for tips on how to survive college. Welcome to the Gator Nation!

Do you feel like you have gotten to know the University of Florida?

(photo via Elite Daily)