Hey guys! Here's some general advice/tips for our first years. If you think of something you would like us to elaborate on, let us know!
1. The Buses.
As a first year, the buses will be your best friend in the winter and rainy weather. If you live in Hereford or the farther away dorms of Alderman, youll definitely appreciate them by the end of the year. Before my first year last year, the bus routes were overhauled and I found that they worked efficiently. You can check on a bus 3 ways: the internet, phone, and a touch pad at the bus stop. The bus tracking website is: UTS HoosWhere, parking & Transportation, U.Va.
The phone number is 1-866-748-4227. I would save the number in your phone. It really helped me plan how to get home when I didnt have a computer handy or didnt want to go to the bus stop. Also, memorize the codes for the bus stops you use most often. Since I lived in Old Dorms last year, the three most important to me were the Mccormick road stop (11795), chem (11782), and the one in front of Alderman library (11912). If you master the bus system, youll find life will be a lot easier. Also, on Fri & Sat, bus service is extended; instead of stopping at midnight, it stops at 2 AM. Frat parties have to close at 2, so its usually a good idea to leave the party around 1:30 to have enough time to catch the bus (itll be packed), especially if you live far away (Hereford, Courtney, Kellogg, etc.)
2. The Libraries.
We have a ridiculous number of libraries on Grounds. If you find that you cant study in your room or common area, head to a library. If youre worried about your social image or some nonsense to that effect, dont be. Remember the types of people that were accepted here; they were all academically successful in high school and most prefer to keep being academically successful. The 3 big ones are Alderman, Clark, and Clemons. The general rule of thumb is that the lower you go down, the quieter you have to be. If you eat chips in the basement of Clemons, people will glare at you. Alderman and Clark both have a Greenberrys, which is like Starbucks. Alderman is much more stately; when you traditionally think of a college library, you think Alderman. Great architecture, nice views, comfy chairs, people asleep in those comfy chairs. ;)
Clemons and Alderman are literally right next to each other. When I think Clemons, I think more of people who really need to get their work done, but really dont want to. Everytime I go to Clemons, I waste a few hours; its more conducive to working in groups. But hey, everyone is different. You may work there just fine. Clark is another library with great architecture and comfy chairs. If you go down a level to the stacks, there are desks and a few classrooms. Its extremely quiet down there. Clark also has this room right in front of the library called the naked room. Its called that because the mural on the wall has naked people in it. When you walk into Clark, you may be confused since the library isnt in the front; walk straight ahead and the library will be there in front of you. Youll discover your favorite library soon enough. :)
Alderman is open til 12, Clark til 2 AM, and Clemons is open 24 hours. Weekend hours are shorter and during Finals, the libraries tend to be open later.
You have 3 dining halls: Runk, OHill, and Newcomb. For the vast majority of students who live in McCormick and Alderman, youll be eating in OHill. Hereford people get Runk. Ive only been to Runk a few times, and the food was great. The dining hall is very zen. The food is organic and focuses more on local stuff. Newcomb gets a bad rap for some reason, but I like Newcomb. I ate there a lot second semester. Newcomb is extremely convenient when youre at the library because it takes about 2 minutes to get there. Dining probably doesnt endorse this, but I stopped buying cereal after a while because I would just take it from the dining hall lol. I would get a takeout box and fill it with cereal. Then when I got home, Id just put it into a Ziploc bag. To get a takeout box: When you swipe, ask for one. :)
Before you eat, check out whats on the menu: Welcome to CampusDish at University of Virginia!
Don't worry. In the end, you'll get into the classes you want. A friend of mine signed up for random classes during orientation because all the ones he wanted were full. After the first week or so, he got into all the classes he wanted. Be persistent. You can add/drop classes again on August 5th. sign up for the waitlists, and on the first day of the class you want, go to the class with a filled out course action form. http://www.virginia.edu/registrar/courseactionform.html
Many professors will sign them and let you into the class. Some professors will also read out the entire roster and if someone isn't present, they're kicked out. You may be able to take that spot. If a class you want to take is full and there is no waitlist, e-mail the professor. Some of them have "personal" waitlists where you need to contact them to get on the waitlist. Before you sign up for a class, check out the www.courseforum.com
You can get more info on the profs/TAs and on TheCourseForum, you'll be able to get past grade distributions for classes. Also, check toolkit https://toolkit.itc.virginia.edu/cgi-local/tk/.tkdocs/displaydocs
Search for a class's syllabus from past years through the search engine; it'll give you a better idea of the reading/work load, and what you'll be expected to do. Change the year and semester you want to search first, and then enter the course number. Also keep in mind that this year, we moved to a 4 number system for classes; in past years, it has been 3. So, if you're searching for CHEM1420, that may not work. Try CHEM142. In general, just taking off the last number will work.