A student on campus

Thomas Chase is a first-year student at the University of Florida from Gainesville, Florida. He studies mechanical engineering at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and plans to apply for the college’s combined-degree program in his third year to earn his master’s and bachelor’s degrees simultaneously.

We asked him about his experience at UF, his perfect day on campus and his advice for students deciding where to go to college. 

Q: Why did you decide to come to UF?

A: UF has some of the best academics in Florida, and I can get free tuition with Bright Futures.

Could you describe what a perfect day on campus might look like for you?

Today has been nice, actually. I live off of campus, so I biked onto campus. Then, I went to lab this morning, got Krishna lunch and I have class in about an hour here. Honestly, just relaxation and listening to a podcast on the Plaza of the Americas. That’s a good, relaxing day.

What’s been your favorite thing about being at UF?

I’ve met so many people. I’ve made entirely new friend groups, and I love it.

Do you have any advice for people already at UF who are struggling to make friends right now?

Message anyone in your classes: Just ask for social media, ask if people want to go get lunch, find people from the area, share your majors, stuff like that.

Don’t be afraid to approach people, just wear mask.

Finally, do you have any advice for high school students in the process of deciding where to go?

For me, it was pretty simple. I think I applied to 10 schools, but it basically just came down to which schools accepted me and gave me enough financial aid. UF was the easy decision – it wasn’t really much of a decision, it was, “Let’s just go for it.” I haven’t had any regrets.


Students were photographed in accordance with CDC guidelines and UF policies on masking and physical distancing.


Learn more about the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.

Learn more about the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.