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.
The University of Florida was my dream school, and within my first semester, I made it a goal to challenge myself throughout my time here. I knew from the very beginning that this school was my home, and I wanted to leave that impression for all of the incoming gators. My experience as a preview staffer was one that helped me gain confidence personally and helped build a foundation for me to pursue any other opportunity that will come along the way. Being surrounded by 43 student leaders day in and day out for the entire summer challenged the way I thought and helped me grow in a team environment. While working with students for countless hours on little sleep and working behind the scenes in the midst of the Florida heat to keep the show running was exhausting, the one interaction in which I was able to help a worried student made it all worth it. Being able to make an impact on an incoming student was one of the most rewarding feelings. When we say every gator counts, we truly mean it.
For me I became a staffer to offer the perspective of reaching out beyond UF into the Gainesville area community. I’m from Gainesville, and I realized there was a need for students to completely know their resources as well as how they can help others. A lot of people focus solely on what they’re doing on campus, but a part of being a global gator is reaching out beyond your comfort zone. That’s a large part of what I didn’t expect from preview is that while I was urging others to reach beyond the scope they normally operate around, I too would do the same. Going into the summer I was never really an open person, I was very closed off to sharing personal things about my life. I was always just scared about what people would think or people saying something about me. But through working with my students and my staff, I realized that being closed off was more of a hindrance for me than it was helping me. You never see how many people think like you or have the same viewpoints you hold until you reach out and speak your mind to an extent. It’s easy to think that you’re the only one who feels something or feel like you’re the only who’s been in a situation. It’s always important to realize you’re not, and preview reminded me that. Honestly, without preview I’m sure I still wouldn’t be sharing things with others and that’s not conducive to building relationships. A part of growth is being exposed to situations that you would not normally come in contact with on a daily basis. Preview was definitely that interaction for me that changed my mindset. I’m not going to say that without preview I never would have come to this realization, but I will say I would’ve spent far too long without that perspective if I hadn’t been a staffer.
To me, being a Preview Staffer means being a student who is there to help new students coming into the University of Florida in any way. Not only can you help new students, but also you really get an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself than you possibly know. This past summer has been the most influential summer of my life, where I made the best of friends and changed my life while also being able to influence the entire new class at UF.
There are so many things in Preview I knew I would learn. I knew that one day I won’t have to ask what classes are freshman appropriate. Eventually, I stopped looking through my class notes for the Chemistry progression. I no longer questioned the structure of general education. What I didn’t realize before starting the Preview summer is that being a staffer teaches beyond the training or the classroom. In my summer, I learned that I can be vulnerable with my experiences and still be strong. Through early morning and endless nights, my staff members taught me how to lean on others for support and care. I became comfortable with dancing like no one was watching. I had a newfound love for the Cotton Eye Joe and the Cupid Shuffle. I was surrounded by people dedicated to self-improvement and to welcoming their best selves. I discovered a confidence in my leadership abilities. The most important thing I learned this summer was to be an advocate and be a voice. As a mentor to my students, I was able to establish UF’s culture of care. I felt comfortable enough to promote diversity and inclusivity. I learned that I can lead change through communication and teamwork. It was in this Preview summer that I learned to serve vibrantly.
A lot of people tell you that being a Preview Staffer will change you and you won’t leave the summer the same. I thought they were all exaggerating but I didn’t realize the impact the students, family members and this experience would have on me. Seeing my students or family members on campus literally brightens up my day. I squeal like a 5 year old and a flood of joy washes over me because all of the unique memories I had with each one of them comes to mind and I feel all the happy, squishy feelings again. That to me, is one of the most rewarding feelings ever because I knew I was able to help them transition here to the University of Florida in some way shape or form. I was able to also learn more about my peers, explore different cultures and experience different viewpoints which has helped me tremendously. If it was for me, I would say the biggest change I saw in myself was my new found passion for student success.
When I applied to be a Preview Staffer last fall, I had no idea the depth of impact it would leave on my life. I wanted to connect with new students and assure them that they had all of the resources at UF to make this place their home so long as they were willing to invest themselves! What I didn’t expect was the incredible community I was granted with my fellow staffers, the faculty at the Dean of Students office and working with our campus partners. Without them, I don’t think I would have experienced the same kind of internal growth this summer offered me. My summer doing Preview was the most transformative time of my life thus far! I am so grateful that I was able to be a member of our team and meet so many incredible students and families this summer. This was the hardest job I’ve ever had but also the most rewarding and offered so much room for professional and personal growth!
Preview was such an incredible summer where I can easily say I made some lifelong friends. I loved getting to meet all of the incoming students this year and see how excited they were to be repping the Orange and Blue. I can honestly say there is no better feeling than making an impact on an incoming students’ life.
My Preview summer taught me my value as an individual and a team member. If you would’ve told me ahead of time all that I would be doing, I would laugh…but yet I did it with the help and support of my team. I found tenacity and positivity even when it seemed like the well had run dry because of my team. Preview brings together a diverse cast of friends, supporters, challengers, teachers, mentors and listeners. They enforced my uniqueness as an individual so that I knew they could not function without me and I without them. Because of Preview, I have the courage to serve humbly in my other organizations and find the intention in everything I do. I am grateful for this summer’s experience in teaching me lessons I didn’t know I needed to learn.