During her senior year of high school, New York University was Riya Data’s dream school. Now, after two years of college at UF, she is glad to have chosen the swamp and has never looked back.
Data, a third-year telecommunication production and business administration major at UF, wasn’t quite fond of the idea of going to UF a few years ago. She said she even thought of transferring during her freshman year of college at UF until she came to a realization.
“What I realized about UF that I didn’t realize before was how lucky we are to have this community and there are a lot of opportunities available but you just need to look for them. I think I just hyped NYU so much in my head . . . me getting there it would not have been half as much as I put it in my head that I imagined it to be,” Data said.
“I think [TSF] reaffirmed what I love with writing . . . trying to figure out funny scenarios and then being able to see it come to life at our shows is always really great. I also love ACCENT and the Reitz Union Board because I’m super into pop culture and I think it’s so fun being able to meet these celebrities and hear their talks and see how they got to be where they are,” Data said.
One of her biggest struggles, Data said, is making sure that she values what she thinks as well as realizing that it is important that she says it.
“I do think that coming to UF and being in different organizations has taught me that my voice deserves to be heard,” Data said.
In addition, Data said she has learned to not compare her college experience to what it’s like on television and movies.
“Growing out of that and realizing every experience I have is unique to me and that’s always how it’s going to be is a learning curve,” Data said.
Overall, Data is happy about being close to her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida. She also has a twin brother who goes to UF.
“He actually just transferred here this spring so it feels more comfortable just because we’ve been to the same school our entire life and then for college was the first time we were separated so it was a little weird,” Data said.
Data said she owes it all to her friends who have made her experience at UF so great.
“I was lucky enough to find a good group of friends my freshman year that have stuck with me these past two years. I think if I hadn’t found that group, I think I definitely wouldn’t have been sitting at UF right now . . . I think I would have transferred,” Riya said.