Dear off-campus Honors Gators: You’re not alone. I didn’t know what Hume was either.

In my Honors professional development course, I heard my classmates ask each other in which building of Hume they live. “East or West?” was a common question asked to every individual in the class. “Oh East? West is much more fun,” west-siders proudly said. I reluctantly stayed quiet in my seat.

Many Honors Gators live off-campus. Though some benefits exist to living in a more private space, some Honors students find it tough to feel included in Hume activities. First-year animal sciences major Ashley Jenkins said that she “[does] sort of feel out of the loop for most of the smaller things, such as smaller scale events that are mainly advertised in Hume, but [she] usually can find out about the larger events (like barbecues and whatnot) from the UF Honors 2022 page on Facebook.”

It can be challenging interacting with other Honors students, since “[they] are more involved with Honors because they live in Hume,” said Ike Irvin, a microbiology and cell science freshman. Almost all Hume residents have found their niche within the hall. “It’s hard to be a part of the friend group that lives together because they are so close and you feel like you’re on the outside,” Irvin said.

Through various academic and social clubs, other off-campus students find it easier to interact with their Honors peers, but, “there is some degree of being out of the loop with events and activities,” said civil engineering freshman Suzanna Barna. “It’s a tradeoff for the independence I get living on my own off campus.”

On or off campus, it’s ultimately a choice whether you decide to participate in Honors events. “Honors events are easy to keep up with because of the emails and newsletters I receive,” said Barna. The Honors Program does a magnificent job of keeping everyone in the loop.

Perhaps off-campus Honor Gators should stay one night in Hume to fully understand the Honors living experience and see in which wing of Hume they truly belong. Nothing beats bonding with Honors peers in the Hume study room at 3 a.m. while crying over chemistry and calculus homework.

Off-campus Honors students seem to relish their unique distinction as they enjoy the comfort of their own home, while also benefiting from Honors Program privileges. After all, at least off-campus students don’t have to worry about triggered fire alarms from someone’s burnt grilled cheese or the Hume East-West rivalry.