Welcome, future freshmen, or should I say first years, that have been scouring the internet, looking to find out what exactly they signed up for. Hello, I’m Gigi, and I will be giving you a report on what being a UVA student really means. Whether you’re a born and bred ‘Hoo or an out-of-stater like myself, your journey at the University of Virginia means that a lot of change is coming your way. My job is to give you some insight and help save you from a couple of curveballs. Your guide awaits you below.
The Truth about UVA
Football games are for the photos
Unless you are a football player or a really big sports fan, the point of football games are mostly for the photos (and school spirit). It’s because UVA is truly a basketball school, which I actually prefer. Game days at UVA can be this mad rush, where everyone gets on their ‘Hoo gear – decked in orange and blue – to see a win, but also get some pics for the Gram. Personally though, I never leave a football game until we’ve scored a touchdown and sing the Good Old Song. It’s sweet to join arms with your fellow ‘Hoos and sing with pride.
Your freshman year dorm might be the best dorm you ever live in
If you are a lucky freshman who lives in Old New Dorms, kudos to you my friend, I already dislike you and I am extremely jealous. However, if you are in regular New Dorms, like I was in the past year, you understand the long walk we had to endure. For the most part, freshman dorms are the best dorms (unless you live in the Motels) and you might want to soak it in, because you won’t be there forever.
No matter which of the three dining halls you eat in, it will get old
There are three dining halls on UVA’s campus: Newcomb, O-Hill, and Runk. For the most part, it’s fine at the beginning of the year, but then it all gets old. Same breakfast, day in day out. I honestly did not eat anything but breakfast at the dining halls because I got sick of them so early on. Be wise and use your meal plan to get food on Grounds. You’ve got Rising Roll, West Range Cafe, McLeod cafe, Argo tea, Einstein’s Bagels, The Castle, and Croads. Learn about these places quick, they will come in handy when you want a late night snack.
We care about the culture
Thomas Jefferson for all his faults, and believe me, there are many (which you will learn about), he decided UVA will have its own language. You’ll get the hang of it real quick. Campus = Grounds. First year = Freshman. The Corner = strip of restaurants off-Grounds. The Pav = dining hall for restaurants. ‘Hoos = Cavaliers. This last one has not been explained to me. Why don’t we say “Cavaliers”? But let’s be honest, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Students can get competitive (we all want to be successful)
In the classroom, students can be fierce. In the E-school (engineering) and McIntire (business), students will try to sound like the smartest person in the room, one upping each other. However, the culture on Grounds kind of feels like that. Everyone wants to be successful, and so there is a lot of competition to get into the best “clubs” or “classes.” My tip is do you, and let everyone thing fall to the side.
Housing is a quick game
The one thing about UVA that can piss me off is housing. As a first year, my housing process started in October. Which is crazy considering I was only in my first semester of college. Be aware that if you want a house or an apartment your second year, you should look early, really early. I decided that going the residential college route was the safest option. But do what’s best for you.
Class registration is painful
SIS is the worst. What makes it even worse is when you don’t have a clear direction on your major. That’s a later post. Anyway, if you want the scoop, look on Lou’s List for your classes. It’s a better software and it’s simpler to use. Also, if you want to see your schedule fully, use Course Forum or Coursicle.
You won’t remember any of the hard times, but all of the good ones
For the most part, I’m pretty sure my first semester sucked. That said, when I look back on my first-year as a sophomore (or second year), I have nothing but fond memories. I remember all the weekend trips I had, the fun dance parties, the nights where I just watched movies with my friends and laughed. Though it may be hard, there is a lot to look forward to. Enjoy it!
Any ‘Hoos out there? What class are you? What are some things you’ve learned about UVA?