STARTING THE TRADITION SINCE 1974
Our student leaders are full of Gator pride! They hold themselves to a high standard and excel both in and out of the classroom. Our students leave their mark on the University of Florida through their experience with the Preview Program. Please click on one of the following students to find out what he or she has to say about their Preview Staff experience.
If you put in every ounce of effort you have into Preview, the gratification, the rewards, the experience will give you every ounce back. Preview is challenging in all aspects but those challenges only propel you forward into whatever strengths you possess. You really learn to get out of that comfort zone of yours whether it’s dancing in front 400 students or cheering families on while they get ready to eat dinner. At the end of that second day seeing students leave confident, spirited, and ready to be a Gator is the most rewarding part because as a staffer you show just what the University of Florida is all about and how much we care for one another, and how great it is to be a Florida Gator.
My summer as a 2016 Preview Staffer was the most challenging, yet rewarding summer I’ve ever experienced at UF. Throughout the summer it was hard to see if I was making an impact or if people noticed the hard work I was putting into this position. It wasn’t until I had a full circle moment with a student that made the entire summer worth it. I remember after my conversation with this student thinking to myself, “This is why I became a Preview staffer”. I believe applying to staff with the mindset of purely wanting to impact students and families made this experience much more special and influential on my life. The great friends I made on staff, the networking opportunities, and the “swag” were just awesome perks, but that’s not what the core of Preview is about. The magic of Preview doesn’t lie within the polos and backpacks, it’s in the late night conversations you have with students who are worried about their first year, it’s reassuring parents their sons or daughters have an incredible support system at UF, but mostly it’s the personal connections you make with the students and families that go past the 2 days at Preview. I was challenged physically, emotionally, and mentally this summer, but I’ve grown in ways I didn’t think possible and feel I am a better person, student, and leader because of the experience I’ve had as a Preview staffer. But one of the coolest parts about this job is knowing that as I go into the fall semester, after finishing a trying yet impactful summer, my journey has just begun.
Sometimes the most unexpected journeys are the most rewarding ones, and this became more than true for me after my summer was fulfilled with being a 2016 Preview Staffer. I had absolutely no clue what to expect out of this experience, other than my desire to impact, comfort, and guide my students towards a successful first semester here at UF. However, I can easily say this is by far the best experience I’ve had during my time here. Not only can I say I had an impact on over 7,000 students and 10,000 family members, I can now say I am a better leader and person; I proudly showed family members the beauty of this school in multiple Rainesville down pours AND showed them the proper Gator spirit the whole time; I now have 42 supportive people who are not only my team, but my family; I learned the power of positivity and a smile with everything you do; and I can say that I have never been more changed by people than the way that every single student impacted me. If you want to better yourself, others, and the University of Florida, start that application to be a Preview Staffer right now, and I promise you won’t regret it!
If I asked my first-year, freshman self what I would be doing during my last undergrad summer, Preview would have been the last thing on my mind. There would be no way I could speak in front of thousands of people, provide resources to hundreds of students and families or advise about academics at the University of Florida. Was it even possible to walk through campus before the sun came up, stuff hundreds of bags in an hour, build huts in the agonizing heat, hold back hundreds of students due to rain, cheer at the top of your lungs, answer the same question hundreds of times or stay up way past your bedtime to talk to an apprehensive student? In one summer, it all became possible. Not only was it the most challenging summer I have ever faced, it became the most rewarding. “We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges.” I did not think a program could challenge and allow you to step out of your comfort zone, yet lead you to finding the best version of yourself.
The tasks became second nature and I also knew I wanted to impact the University in some way. Each student’s experience is different. When a student tells you what you said on stage or your presentation ends up being the reason why they are less nervous or are now at ease about what they want to do in life, you know that you have done more than just your job. You know that even though you were beyond exhausted, it was worth it. You know that there was a purpose behind building the hut in the agonizing summer heat and there was a reason why you prepped more bags. Before the summer began, I told myself I would face the challenges mentioned and I did. It would not be easy, but I would do it all to the best of my ability. Yes, I was nervous. Yes, I didn’t think I could do it. I also did not realize how much of an impact Preview would make in my life and I could not be happier with my decision. I found myself. I became a better leader. I became a mentor. I gained an amazing support system (S/O PS’16) and I proved to my freshman self that I can do anything.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a 2016 Preview Staffer! It truly was an incredible experience that can’t be found anywhere else. I never thought I would learn so much from the people around me. Every single person I worked with taught me something new and I was able to develop and grow in many ways over the summer. I was put in situations that pushed me and challenged the way I looked at different things. None the less we all had fun together doing skits, dinner cheers, rotations, and much much more! Being able to impact new students’ first year experience is extremely rewarding. We had the chance to work with 9,000 new students and 10,000 family members. It’s nice to be able to see the smile on their face as they leave Preview knowing UF is the place they, now reassured, want to call home. Not everything is in the spotlight but whether it was working the information huts, stuffing bags, or moving supplies it all played a part towards making Preview what it is. If you are thinking about applying… do it! You won’t regret it.
Preview was a life-changing experience. It’s one of those things that is difficult to articulate how much it impacts you unless you’re speaking to another Preview Staffer. There are fun moments like performing skits, dancing, doing cheers, the inside jokes, and the free food and gear; but there are moments of tremendous stress and pressure that push you to go beyond what you even thought was possible of yourself. You are forced to break the mold of who you are and go outside your comfort zone for the sake of your students and fellow staffers. What it really boils down to is YOU are guiding these new students through one of life’s biggest transitions. It’s not an easy job, but nothing good in life is. These students will look to you for advice, knowledge, and sometimes hope. Whether it’s helping make a major choice at nighttime advising, or receiving hugs from students on day 2, they impact you while you impact them. When it’s all over you will feel like you just ran a marathon, and you will look back in awe that you helped literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of people coming to our University, and you do it alongside 42 of the most dedicated and caring people you’ve ever met in your life. I bonded with my staffers over this shared experience. It’s really unique and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
My biggest piece of advice if you apply is to be yourself. You don’t have to be a great dancer; you don’t have to be an extrovert, you just need to be you. Preview will always be a defining moment in my life, that I hope you too will discover the beauty in it too. Go Gators.
Before this opportunity of serving as a Preview Staffer I felt as if I didn’t belong. I was affiliated with many organizations, volunteered for causes I believed in and wedged myself among people who would guide me on a successful path, but what I realized was that I was the one holding myself back. What I was a part of and what I defined myself with wasn’t what was making me feel distant it was my own confidence in my abilities that was holding me back on my decisions.
During my freshman and sophomore year I struggled with life and career path choices that affected me very negatively. I was constantly confused about where I was going and hard on myself when things didn’t go “as planned”. Yet, the biggest take away I had from being a Preview Staffer is that reevaluation and self-reflection is key to ones own motivation and success. This experience helped me to examine the tough question as to why I do what I do and preview has shown me what I am truly passionate about.
If I were to give a piece of advice to any applicant it would be to find the reason as to how this program can impact you and what you can do to spread YOU to this program. My favorite part about this position was meeting the most individualized humans that had so much to offer this university. What makes it even more exciting is that each and every one of them is on your team with a common goal. Benefiting someone else’s life rather than your own.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” Charles Dickens.