College students back for semester

Published: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

More than 51,000 University of Florida students began pouring back into town Sunday night just in time for the start of the spring semester today.

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University of Florida law student Nakku Chung studies outside the Chemistry Lab Building on Sunday afternoon. He said the law library was closed when he first arrived to study, so he crossed campus to Library West, which was also closed. Chung opted to enjoy the mild weather and read outside in preparation for the first day of the spring semester.

JARRETT BAKER/The Gainesville Sun

But the early-returners, who were out enjoying the few remaining carefree hours, reported dormitories were only about half full by 5 p.m.

"I know some people will come in Monday morning," said Lisa Ulseth, a 19-year-old music education major.

Ulseth and her two roommates were outside of Reid Hall on Sunday evening painting a bookshelf for their dorm room with vividly colored flowers and patterns.

While Ulseth had just returned to Gainesville on Sunday, her roommates came back early to clean and decorate their room.

All UF residence halls were officially open on Thursday.

"I like the idea of being up here early because it gives you the chance to unpack, clear your mind and get ready for the next semester," said Kate Leavitt, a freshman majoring in civil engineering.

Ulseth said she is expecting an easier semester in terms of course work, but Leavitt said it was the exact opposite for her.

And Angela Vandoli, the third roommate, offered to help them both with information from the stress and anxiety management class she enrolled in this semester.

A few students living in Rawlings Hall came back Sunday to find a burst pipe in the dorm had caused water damage.

Cortney Shimp, 18, said about 11 rooms in Rawlings Hall were affected, including hers.

Shimp said she received an e-mail about the water over winter break and returned to find some of her shoes were moldy.

"The room next to me looked like it was a lot worse," Shimp said. "A lot of their stuff was in bags."

Shimp and three of her friends bought their textbooks for the semester on Sunday and were walking back to the dorm with heavy shopping bags.

All four of the women reported spending more than $200 on textbooks and one as much as $350. They expected to buy more books after the first day of classes.

"My mom will be thrilled," Meghan Webster said sarcastically.

The 19-year-old chemical engineering student said she was looking forward to the new semester.

"It can't be worse than last semester," Webster said.

Megan Rolland can be reached at 338-3104 or megan.rolland@

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