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Info for Incoming 1st Years

db123db123 Registered User Posts: 736 Member
edited May 2013 in University of Virginia
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, you’ll 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 didn’t have a computer handy or didn’t 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, you’ll 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 it’s usually a good idea to leave the party around 1:30 to have enough time to catch the bus (it’ll 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 can’t study in your room or common area, head to a library. If you’re worried about your social image or some nonsense to that effect, don’t 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 Greenberry’s, 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 don’t want to. Everytime I go to Clemons, I waste a few hours; it’s 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. It’s extremely quiet down there. Clark also has this room right in front of the library called the naked room. It’s 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 isn’t in the front; walk straight ahead and the library will be there in front of you. You’ll 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.

3. Dining.
You have 3 dining halls: Runk, O’Hill, and Newcomb. For the vast majority of students who live in McCormick and Alderman, you’ll be eating in O’Hill. Hereford people get Runk. I’ve 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 you’re at the library because it takes about 2 minutes to get there. Dining probably doesn’t 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, I’d just put it into a Ziploc bag. To get a takeout box: When you swipe, ask for one. :) Before you eat, check out what’s on the menu: Welcome to CampusDish at University of Virginia!

4. Classes
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 and www.ratemyprofessors.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.
Post edited by db123 on

Replies to: Info for Incoming 1st Years

  • wahoogrl08wahoogrl08 Registered User Posts: 419 Member
    A note about books...

    Aside from the Main Grounds bookstore, there is also the student bookstore on the Corner. Sometimes they may have used copies of books or generally lower prices than the Main Bookstore. Always try and shop a place like Half.com though if you have the time.

    Also, at some point or another, you will meet the "Course Packet". Many times professors will only want to use an essay or an excerpt of a book and will have the copies bound together so as to *try* and save you some money. There are two locations on Elliewood Ave. (on the Corner, near Mincer's) that produce course packets. However, be sure that you are going to stay in the course or that you know someone who will buy the packet off of you, as they are non-refundable.
  • db123db123 Registered User Posts: 736 Member
    5. Books

    To add to what wahoogirl said. The UVa Bookstore, for the most part, sells at MSRP, You really won't save anything. Definitely check Amazon. Also, before the class starts and a few weeks after, you'll be getting e-mails from students who want to sell their books. Generally, they'll be cheap. I bought all my books new first semester, and I looked back and it made no sense. Buy used. You'll save a lot of money. Also check hoohasit.com and uloop.com Students will be trying to sell their books. You may also get some advice from them. And some may offer to give you their notes for the class (I got a set for my PLIR class this past spring.)

    Course Packet: If you just read and don't annotate, see if you know someone else in the class. Offer to split the cost 50/50 and if they agree, you both can use it for half the price. I did that with my hallmate who was taking the same PLIR class as me.
  • wahoogrl08wahoogrl08 Registered User Posts: 419 Member
    Oh! And another point about the Libraries

    You can rent/borrow movies from the Robertson Media Center in Clemons. They have relatively popular/recent things. I know someone who got all the seasons of Sex and the City.
  • canuck01canuck01 Registered User Posts: 528 Member
    To add:

    1. Busses
    They're generally good, on schedule, and make getting around easier. db posted the phone number to tell you when they're coming, but if you use a crackberry or iPhone bookmark this site U.Va. Mobile / Search, and then you just type in the stop number. Also, if you're coming home late from a fraternity party, or wherever, yellow cab is cheap (under $10 from far away houses on Grady to new dorms) and gets you back safe and sound. Plus if you don't have any cash on you, they can bill it to your student account.

    2. Libraries
    They're everywhere, just find someplace to study. My personal favorite is Clark, but the basement lounges of new dorms are pretty quiet places to study too. Greenberry's is decent coffee, but coming from a big city with a Starbucks on every street corner, I do miss having easy access to Starbucks. The only one near by is on the corner and isn't open particularly late.

    3. Dining
    As db said, Runk has considerably better food. My suggestion is, if you're on the Northline bus coming back from class with friends, just ride it up to Runk, it's worth the trip. Definitely just take to-go boxes filled with cereal, and fill a couple of cups with milk. Fill a box with cookies too and save yourself some money.

    As for eating out, the White Spot and Little John's are always good for a midnight food run. Lemongrass on the corner is good for Asian food, and I can't remember the sushi restaurant's name, but it's good too. College Inn, Coupe's and the Virginian are good for a nice, informal lunch or dinner. Christian's pizza is good, but really greasy - College Inn is better. Norbits has really good burgers, and you order them with a scantron. Bodos is great for a good, cheap breakfast or lunch.

    4. Classes
    Wait, there are classes ;) But really, don't worry, you'll get the classes you want.

    5. Books
    Amazon is probably your best bet. If you are e-school, just buy them now, they are cheaper the earlier you buy them, and it' not like you have a choice of courses anyways. For things like solutions manuals, just split the cost with a friend. For things like Mastering Chem, buy it, you have to - ie, don't buy a used chem text unless it is cheaper than also buying it with the extra mastering chem (~$45).

    6. What to have in a dorm room
    A fridge is essential, bring lots of bottled water for move in day. A microwave is nice for ramen at 3 am. The more fans the better, the first couple weeks are hot. A rug is important. TV is nice, although I didn't watch it much, and my TiVo rarely got used, until I got home and watched the full seasons of just about everything I missed over the year.
  • shoebox10shoebox10 Registered User Posts: 3,559 Senior Member
    Good golly, people at UVa are wayyy to nice and helpful ;) I'll throw in my two cents and maybe some transfer stuff later. I'm slightly occupied celebrating the best dayof TJ's life (well ok besides the day he decided to begin our fabbb school)
  • canuck01canuck01 Registered User Posts: 528 Member
    Good rule, today, grab a beer, head outside and celebrate. When the sun goes down, watch fireworks, get off the internet.
  • galoisiengaloisien - Posts: 3,741 Senior Member
    A fridge is essential, bring lots of bottled water for move in day

    I think it's cheaper to just use the water fountain? If you get into Brown or the IRC, there'll be communal kitchens so you can get by without a personal fridge. (The only issue is people sometimes steal food -- but this can be avoided by clearly marking your stuff.) Make use of that expensive dining plan to get free ingredients for a midnight snack before you leave. You can make fantastic 10-minute curry using stuff from the O-Hill salad bar...(well you have to get your own powder of course but it's really cheap).

    Transportation -- in addition to the UTS system, there's the CTS system which takes you downtown, and up Emmet / 29 into Barracks' supermarkets and big box stores. And when you get sick of dining hall food, there's an Asian market right after Barracks, and an Indian store across the corner from Fashion Square. Please don't get ripped off by Crossroads. They love to price-gouge students. ;)

    Oh SafeRide. I use this a lot. Sometimes if it's 11:30 and I'm far from my dorm I'll wait until midnight intentionally rather than take the bus because SafeRide brings you right to your door. They start service after midnight and end on 6 am on Sundays to Thursday nights (when I say Sunday night, it's really more like Monday morning but you get what I mean). And to prevent people using them as party transport service, they only start service after 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights. They'll eagerly transport you HOME from a party though.

    A lot of parties held at apartments on JPA or the 14th St area will last longer than 2 am. So if you find yourself without bus service, and you're willing to wait 10-15 minutes (about the time it takes for a cab anyway), you don't have to waste money -- SafeRide will take you home for free.

    Undergrad opportunities -- while you're looking for classes, if you're looking to get into research early, you can start looking for profs you'd like to work under, even if you won't be in their class. Start the search now :) and you could be doing exciting stuff early on! A lot of profs like to talk about their research, especially to curious and impressionable young first-years. ;)

    CavLink -- if you haven't heard of this and you're looking for a student job or volunteer opportunities, check this out right now!

    Avoiding markups -- the Bookstore and other official vendors will rip you off on mini fridges and box fans. For these items, please buy elsewhere (like CVS). :)
  • shirkershirker Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    Instead of water fountains or bottled water, Brita filter/pitcher + fridge.
  • ThaRussianThaRussian Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    wow, you guys are too nice, this is helpful, thanks for taking the time to type all this, your hard work is appreciated
  • SSK 91SSK 91 Registered User Posts: 323 Member
    Thanx a lot people...that is really helpful...I have another question...I am going to be first yr seas...how can I get the book titles/ISBN for the textbooks required for the courses I want to take at UVa...any useful link or guidance will be very kind
  • WTCWTC Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    To get the textbook list, head to:

    Textbooks | The UVA Bookstore - Secure Online Shopping

    Scroll to the bottom and click on "Fall textbook list". A pdf file should pop out. However, this list is not completed yet since many professors have not informed the bookstore which textbooks they use. Keep checking that website for a most updated textbook list.
  • SSK 91SSK 91 Registered User Posts: 323 Member
    ^thanx WTC
  • caltech27caltech27 Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    Wow, this is really helpful! About the official vendors ripping us off for buying fridges and the like, would renting their MicroFridge (I think that's what it's called- the microwave/fridge combo) be a bad idea, as well?
  • hazelorbhazelorb Registered User Posts: 3,238 Senior Member
    re: caltech: site:talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-virginia fridge - Google Search

    i'm going to try to get this thread stickied
  • hazelorbhazelorb Registered User Posts: 3,238 Senior Member
    Thanks tokenadult for stickying!
This discussion has been closed.