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Quick Questions Thread

chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
edited April 2010 in Virginia Tech
As a rising sophomore I figured some of the incoming freshmen might have questions about VT that don't warrant a full thread so... here you go! Ask away.
edited April 2010
159 replies
Post edited by chuy on
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Replies to: Quick Questions Thread

  • Zimmer07Zimmer07 631 replies12 threads Member
    Oh, thank you, Chuy!!

    Is it totally nuts to take 19 credits fall semester?
    Do you check out your teachers on www.ratevtteachers.com before signing up for classes?
    Do you use an eggcrate or memory foam on your dorm bed?
    How easy is it to stay on campus after your freshman year?
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    It depends on which classes you are in. You could take a 19 credit schedule and it not be THAT hard (although it won't be easy) or you could take 15 credits and have it insane. 19 will be time consuming though... which classes are you in?

    No, I went to ratemyprofessor. Thanks for the link though, that looks much more useful. I'm in a small major though (MSE) so I usually don't have that much flexibility anyway though. :(

    I used neither last year, but I'm getting some memory foam from Overstock this year. The bed sizes all cost the same, so I'm getting the largest 2 inch they have and folding it over to give me four inches. I'll be about an inch short on each side, but oh well.

    I'm staying on campus. I don't actually know anyone who signed up for on campus housing and didn't get it, but my roommate next year and I came pretty close. It's not something that you can 100% count on, but a lot of people move out voluntarily (I was too lazy to look for an apartment or I would have) and I plan on doing so after this year.
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  • Zimmer07Zimmer07 631 replies12 threads Member
    My s will be in eng. He's got the two easy math classes (alg and vector geo), Honors engl, the engineering sem, that 1 cred art class, physics, Galileo seminar, and the one I think he should drop since he really doesn't have to take it, Entomology.

    I wondered about housing since they over-accepted this year by over 200 students.
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  • Zimmer07Zimmer07 631 replies12 threads Member
    What is the fraternity scene like? Is it much of a presence at VT?

    Is having a refregerator in the room really necessary?

    Are loft beds really that easy to put together?! I just read the brochure on those!
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    I'm an engineer too! Alright, looking at that schedule...

    Yes, those math classes are pretty easy, as long as you stay on top of things. You don't get a professor at all for algebra, but you do for vector. For both courses you have to go down to the Math Emporium at the university mall to take tests. It's basically a giant room with tons of computers. The University Mall has a bus that runs to it at most hours, is open just about always and is within medium walking distance. The art class is the easiest thing I've ever seen. Show up to 4 "art events," take 4 easy tests, and if you pass then you're done. No A-F grading, just pass fail.

    The engineering class is unavoidable, but be warned that it is a weed-out class, and will take a lot of time. It's just a bad class all around. If you put time into it, though, you can pull off a B or A. It's just really mind-numbingly tedious and you won't really learn anything. Textbook definition of a weedout class. I don't know anything about the Galileo seminar except that I'm pretty sure it isn't that time consuming. English take a little time for reading and what not, but it's required so its sort of a moot point.

    I wouldn't push your son away from entomology. It satisfys a core requirement (they're always annoying to schedule around so getting it out of the way now is good) and while I didn't take it last year, my roommate did and it didn't seem to take up a lot of his time or be very hard. I think they also test at the Math Emporium.

    Now for my physics rant. IF YOUR SONS PROFESSOR IS NOT NAMED CHANG HIT REFRESH ON THE COURSE REQUEST OVER AND OVER AND OVER UNTIL YOU CAN GET INTO HIS CLASS. I cannot stress this enough. There is exactly one good lower level physics professor at Virginia Tech. His name is Chang. It is worth taking an 8am class to get him.

    The over-accepted thing might be a bit misleading. They tend to do that every year, but this year was worse than most since after the events of last year they didn't hand out academic suspensions. So people that normally would have not been at VT next year are now in the dorms and that threw things off a bit. It should correct itself.
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    "What is the fraternity scene like? Is it much of a presence at VT?"

    It's there, and I suppose it's fairly strong. I think theres a good balance of fraternity and non-fraternity here. I didn't join one and I never had trouble finding something to do Friday or Saturday night, but if you want to join one you have several options. It's up to everyone whether or not they want to, and thats how it should be. I will say that several frat houses are pretty close to campus, but not so close that it ever caused a problem that I know of.

    "Is having a refregerator in the room really necessary?"

    I think so. It's great for milk or leftovers or fruit or whatever. There are kitchens in most dorms with fridges, but sometimes they're three stories away and nobody wants to make the long walk to get breakfast at 7:30 am. Plus theres no real guarentee your food will still be there. I highly suggest it.

    "Are loft beds really that easy to put together?! I just read the brochure on those!"

    Three people can get one put together no problem. It's just holding the things in place and tightening some wingnuts. Bring pliers.
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  • septembermomseptembermom 209 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Chuy,
    Thank you for volunteering to answer questions that parents/kids might have.
    My question is regarding Math Empor. for Calculus with Matrices. Math is not my son's strength. Is help available through Emp., do you know kids who had this class and how it went for them? We did go over to Univ. Mall and I will say emporium was quite a room. It was very quiet when we visited, but are there times when you can't get on a computer.
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    No problem, I get bored here at work and I like helping people. :)

    I'll have to preface this by saying I've never taken Calc with Matrices and I've never talked about it with anyone, so I can't say anything too specific about the class. Hopefully someone else can come into the thread and give you more info on that front. I can give you the general info you asked for on the Empo though, since I've taken three classes that at least tested there.

    Yes, there is help available. There are students that are hired to help you (when you're going through lessons, they can't help you on tests, obviously) and there are professors there if the students can't help, although they usually know their stuff. I doubt your son's class will actually "meet," in that he'll be able to go over whatever time he likes during the week and do his lesson (although there is one manditory info session at the beginning). He will technically have a professor though, who he will be able to go and see if he has problems. Many professors have videos of what the lecture would be up on the math emporium site as well. The professor will go over that in the info session.

    As far as the empo filling up goes, there is only one time that that is ever an issue, and it is never an issue for proctored testing. There are seperate sections for taking tests and for going over lessons/studying, and while the studying section MAY fill up around finals time, he should be done with lessons by then so it shouldn't be an issue. They will realocate computers to testing if they have to, and I've never seen testing computers full.

    It stays very quiet, especially in the testing area. Even in the "regular" area it stays to about a library level. Sometimes the person next to you will be getting help on something from one of the students or professors and that can get a bit annoying, but that usually doesn't take that long. People generally want to get in and out as fast as they can, so they don't hang around and talk.
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  • septembermomseptembermom 209 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Thanks chuy,
    You are right about the 1 scheduled class and then I guess you go to empo. when it works best for you. There is something this year son heard about during orientation called "Empo Temp" which will take place when school begins. I guess it will give tips and pointers to be successful in Calc. class.
    How hot do those dorm rooms get? During orientation, son said room was fine, but people have recommended bring both a window fan and a desk fan. Son said windows was unusual size (rectangle vs square) and fan would not fit in like it does at home. Just bought desk fan, but will bring box fan if needed too.
    What was your favorite class last year? Any classes that you have heard great things about (history, physc, sociol. more general ed classes) that you would encourage people to try to get next term?
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    The rooms get very hot. There is no air conditioning in most of the dorms and it can get very warm in blacksburg. I actually suggest using two window fans, one in each side. If you do that and leave the door open a little the room can get pretty comfortable. I also had a little clamp fan that I put on my bed to keep me cool at night, and it really helped. You can get any normal sized box fan and wedge it in the window no problem. They are rectangular, but you just have to pull the top half down until it holds the fan in place. Mine fell once I think, and that was when it was off and we got some insane wind gust into the room. Blacksburg weather is... fickle.

    Favorite class is really hard to say, since I've only been able to take two of my electives so far... I will say that Intro to Humanities, Science and Technology was very interesting, and the workload wasn't horrible. It was easy to get a B in, but not an A. The class was based on looking at how people interperet and use technology, and mostly dealt with case studies like the Colombia disaster, frankenstein and eugenics. You don't have to be a huge science person to do well in the class at all.

    I also took History 1116 (skipped 1115 since I like post civil war history better) and it wasn't bad. Not that hard to pull an A in and the subject matter seemed more relevant than most history classes, since it was so recent. Not as interesting as IHST though.
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  • septembermomseptembermom 209 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Can't thank you enough. Will look for clip fan today. I was wondering about that since if son and roommate decide to loft or have bunk beds, the upper bunk would be extremely hot.
    Son looked at both classes you mentioned. He really like the sound of the Hum. and Science, but it was filled to brim. He ended up taking a US History class and also has Astronomy.
    Bought one of those "squid" surge protector things that someone had recommended. List of supplies from VT suggested buying 2 surge protectors/strip outlets. Son will probably get refrig. has computer of course, desk lamp, no TV yet (I put my foot down on this one!). Did you have 2 surge protectors or did you get by with one?
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    It's good to have two. That way you have some flexibility when it comes to arraging your room, even if you don't use them all. They fill up faster than you'd think when you've got lamps, computers, printers, fans, phones, microwaves, refridgerators, etc. plugged in. Astronomy sounds like it'd be a great class; hopefully I'll be able to fit it into my schedule somewhere down the road. I love that sort of stuff. Tell him to check in on IHST every once and a while if he's really interested; people drop classes all the time.

    Also, I'd make the very strong suggestion that they loft their beds. It gives you much more room when you can put the desks under the beds.
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  • Zimmer07Zimmer07 631 replies12 threads Member
    This may sound a little silly, but did you have help packing your stuff/loading up to go home like everyone seems to have for coming to school? I'm guessing that freshman year, the moms and dads like to put their two cents worth in, but after that year, the students are sort of on their own. Would that be about right, Chuy?

    Also, are there closet doors or are the closets just wide open?
    Is the water from the sinks in the room okay for drinking? (bear with me!!!)
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  • septembermomseptembermom 209 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Zimmer,
    I am just so glad I am not the only one with all these questions for poor chuy! I did not go up to room when son attended orientation and his memory about what it had is already a little sketchy! (I knew I should have gone up, but am trying to start letting go!)
    Spent around $300.00 today to go along with the $300.00 yesterday. We are almost done, but yikes, I didn't factor these costs in. I don't think I am being extravagant either-just the items on VT list. Sure does add up quickly!
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    "Help packing your stuff/loading up..."
    My dad helps me, yes. He has a truck and all I have is a little car so I sort of need him to come. :) Not sure what everyone else does. All he really did was help me carry stuff though. We live about three hours away so it wasn't a big deal for him to drive up. Not sure if I answered you question, hopefully so.

    We have closet doors, although a VERY VERY small minority of students do remove them. I do NOT suggest doing this, since you can break bolts or all kinds of bad, expensive things. But they all come with closet doors, yes. I drank the water all year and was fine. I used a Brita filter for the first half of the year but then I got lazy and realized it tasted just about the same from the tap.

    $600 seems like quite a bit... Must have gotten some really nice fans. :) It's too late now but my suggestion is to always just get the bare essentials, get those moved in, then make a walmart run while you're up there when you know what you'll have room for. Even if you forget something you can always go to walmart or kroger and pick it up.
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  • Zimmer07Zimmer07 631 replies12 threads Member
    $600???!!! What did you get?? What did I miss?? Where is this list you are working from?

    We went out today and bought the bedding. Even on sale it was close to $80. I got fans about a month ago - the clip one on sale for $4 and the desk was $7. Got towels last month as well. There's so much we already have and s is a very minimalistic guy anyway. He dithered about the eggcrate/other pad and decided to wait and get something if needed after he spent a couple weeks there. He wanted to get a tv but decided to hold off on that one since I said he was paying for that! But we shopped for one anyway just for the lesson in comparing. (There's a great 19" flat screen at Target for $299 that has a dvd player and can also be used as computer monitor!)

    Chuy, on the list of supplies that was given out at the engineering session during orientation, the first item is for ""engineer's pad" (problem-solving notebook paper)". What exactly is this? If it's not just regular notebook paper, then where do I find it? And how big do the triangles have to be?

    Oh, and I was hoping the closets had doors!! Otherwise....let's see, how to hide all the closet crap??!! And thanks for the water comment. I had read about the Brita thing so I'll forget about getting something like that.
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  • olivianolivian 14 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks so much for answering our questions. They leave no stone unturned at orientation but new questions always crop up. Does Vtech have a foreign language requirement? I heard nothing about it during orientation. But my D says that on her hokie spa account, there is a red lettered sentencethat says: language requirement not met. We thought it was odd since nobody mentionned this at orientation and also she should have met hers since she got 5 in AP French language and 5 in AP French lit.
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  • Zimmer07Zimmer07 631 replies12 threads Member
    Oh, I can answer that one!!! You have to have had at least two years of a foreign language in hs to meet the requirement. On the same page that you mention, there will also be (in smaller print!) a little statement that the information on that page will not be updated until mid-fall. That page was made before they received your final transcript from your hs. So you can relax there. And congrats on those APs!

    Oh Chuy! How hard is it to do a semester abroad in engineering?
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  • olivianolivian 14 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks Zimmer07.
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  • chuychuy 3855 replies62 threads Senior Member
    Alright, one last response before I go to bed. I'll be able to respond to anything else tomorrow.

    "Chuy, on the list of supplies that was given out at the engineering session during orientation, the first item is for ""engineer's pad" (problem-solving notebook paper)". What exactly is this? If it's not just regular notebook paper, then where do I find it? And how big do the triangles have to be?"

    At the VT bookstores they have an "engineer's pack" that'll have the paper, triangles and everythings. It's overpriced, but you can look in it and see what it is you need to get from Walmart. Basically an engineer's pad is yellow paper that is gridded on one side and not on the other, and has a special header section. I guess you do have to get it, but it's only used a couple times... if he has any friends there they could pitch in and buy one and just split the paper. Any sized triangle will work, really. It's just something to use as a straight-edge. Remember, VT has a good bookstore on campus, and there are plenty of places to buy things like that off campus as well if he needs them, so you don't really HAVE to worry about buying that kind of stuff now. :) Ditto on the brita filter. It's a lot easier to decide that you do need something later and go and get it as opposed to having a bunch of stuff that you didn't need and finding somewhere to store it.

    I didn't use a bed pad or anything last semester but believe me I will this year. Those things are not comfortable without one. If you've got the money I'd spring for one of the memory foam things off of overstock (get the 2 inch, largest bed size, double it over and get 4 inches out of it. All bed sizes cost the same for some reason). Again, though, he can try out just the bed and then decide if he needs one or not. I survived without so it is possible.
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