How can I make Gainesville feel more like home?

Photo of Arlington Square ApartmentsRight in the middle of all the action, Arlington Square is less than a mile away from the University of Florida and Downtown Gainesville’s boutique shops, restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife.

Moving to a new city can be a lonely experience. It takes time to find a new routine and get to know the area and people surrounding your new Gainesville apartment. Stay patient and enjoy the journey as you settle into your new hometown. Whether you're moving to Gainesville to attend The University of Florida, Santa Fe College, or relocating for a job somewhere like UF Health, you'll be surrounded by transplant residents just like you! Try these tips to help you get settled in.

1. Say no to repeats

You'll miss out on tons of new and exciting experiences around your Gainesville apartment if you opt for the same coffee shop and takeout every day. Instead, try banning repeats for the first couple months to light a fire in your inner adventurer and try a little of everything.  You may be surprised by what is out there, and who you might meet while you're there.

2. Solo outings

Even if you network like an intern and work your mutual friends list tirelessly, there may be times you simply can't find anyone to hang out with. No need to stay in your Gainesville apartment in defeat. Conquering something alone can be really satisfying and empowering. Just carry yourself with confidence and curiosity, make sure you pull your nose outside of your phone enough to see what's around you, and never shy away from starting conversations.

3. Say yes

If you don't take away anything else from this article, remember this one. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by saying yes more often. Asked to lunch by a coworker you're not sure you click with? Your apartment is hosting a resident activity you aren't sure about? Say yes anyway! You may be surprised by the people you meet and the activities you fall in love with.

This idea has roots in improv, where they refer to this scenario as ‘saying yes to your scene partner.' So when your scene partner says "We're on a safari! And lions are chasing us!" you don't say "No actually we're on a boat in Jamaica," you say "Hop in the jeep!" Even if you feel you don't belong yet, take a chance and say yes.

4. Cut yourself some slack

No matter how dedicated you are to putting yourself out there, there may be moments of loneliness or dislocation. No need to beat yourself up. It gets better. If life circumstances have led you to Gainesville, make the most of your time there! Living in the present is a key to finding peace in your new city. 

5. Find your ‘third space'

Don't let your first few months in Gainesville be an endless cycle of work and home. If you don't immediately find community or things to do outside of your Gainesville apartment, it can feel like the walls are closing in. Combat those feelings by finding a third space you can add into your routine. This may be a cozy coffee shop you can spend afternoons at, or a park you take daily walks in- which is especially great if you have a furry friend in your dog-friendly apartment who can join you.

6. Plan things to get excited about

Back in grade school it was easy to have things to look forward to. School, organized clubs and sports were set up to give you endless amounts of events to look forward to: homecoming, soccer games, field trips, etc. Now, it's on you. But don't feel pressured to make your plans too grandiose. Sign up for a weekly exercise class to get out of your apartment fitness center, or plan a girls trip a month or two away. Dan Healy from Brazen stays inspired by keeping "a calendar that marks both large and small events in my life that I can look forward to, and when days seem endless, it helps to look up and count the days until I get to do something new that I enjoy."

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.