A message to the Class of 2021

Quincy Wilson celebrates with fans after Florida’s 20-7 win over South Carolina on November 12, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I was in your shoes nearly two years ago.

I had turned 18 a few days prior and was ready to start my time at the University of Florida as a Gator just like you are now.

I made new friends, explored campus until I knew my way around blindfolded and went out to play pickup football with people I had met that day.

My roommate and I even bonded over playing FIFA ‘15 on Xbox One nearly everyday. We made it our way of solving disagreements.

That summer was a lot of fun, but I’m about to give you two pieces of advice that will make your time at Florida even more enjoyable.

The first is to make the most out of one of the best athletic universities in the country.

Get those season tickets for football, sit in the Rowdy Reptiles section at basketball games and watch Olympians compete in swimming and track and field.

You could also go to a Friday night baseball game, watch the recently crowned national champion women’s tennis team defend their title, cheer on the gymnastics team at its meets on Friday night and be amazed by what you see.

I remember sitting in the stands on a hot Saturday in 2015 for the Florida-Tennessee football game where the Gators took the lead on an Antonio Callaway 63-yard catch and run. I still remember how loud Ben Hill Griffin Stadium got that day.

It is these experiences that have allowed me to truly explore what UF has to offer.

The second piece of advice is to remember that you are only in college for about four years.

Enjoy those Saturday mornings during football season where the entire campus becomes one big tailgate for every home game.

Enjoy the tradition of swaying side to side while singing “We Are the Boys from Old Florida” with complete strangers at nearly every sporting event.And most importantly, enjoy being able to say you are a Florida Gator and are attending one of the best schools for academics and athletics. You chose to come here for a reason, so do what you want to do and experience things you wouldn’t normally experience.Now is the time to do just that.Remember, the summer is a lot of fun and is a great way to get used to the campus before everyone comes back for the Fall, but the real fun comes that Saturday when the first kickoff marks the return of UF athletics. Jake Dreilinger is assistant sports editor of the Alligator. His column appears frequently on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake .