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Going to college can be exceedingly difficult for some. It may be their first time away from home, they could be leaving lots of friends or a significant other behind, or many other factors. If you’re just starting out your first year at UVA, don’t worry about starting off. Here are some essential tips for you.

1. Go to as many university-related and class-related events as you can.

These include the club fair, first-year formal, first-year food fest, and many others. This will allow you to build a name for yourself, make friends, and feel more comfortable in your new environment. It’s also recommended to seeing the Whethermen, they’re absolutely hilarious.

2. Explore the food.

Food will be your best friend as classes get harder, because it will never fail you. Get familiar with the difference between Plus Dollars and Meal Exchange. You have a limited amount of Plus Dollars (either $150 or $300 depending on your plan) but you have many more meal exchange swipes. You can use 2-3 meal exchange swipes every day! This is key to escaping dining hall food without spending lots of money!

3. Hang out with your hall or suitemates!

They will be near you all year long, you may as well learn to like them! Getting board games and having game nights (especially if you aren’t into partying) will provide tons of fun!

4. Make some free time!

There’s an old saying that however many credit hours you’re enrolled in, you should spend twice as much time studying per week. False. Some classes require no studying, either because they’re easy or because all of the homework reading assignments are gone over in class. Figure out which your classes fit this description and you will see your days open up. Don’t waste time reading for a class when your professor is going to tell you the exact same thing the next day.

5. Login to UVA Collab!

No one will tell you about this, but it has all of your classes, class material, syllabi, and is sometimes where you submit assignments. You can also find out what textbooks you need from here, make sure you check it before classes start!

With these tips in mind, you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of your first year at UVA and feel more comfortable with how everything works. If there’s someting that you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask someone around you! There’s a negative (and wildly false) stereotype that UVA students are rude and snotty, when in reality they are exactly the opposite. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, everyone is in it together!


Austin Jennings

Hi y'all, I'm a first-year at the University of Virginia majoring in physics. As you can tell from my profile picture, I am also a passionate unicyclist and love to make people smile. I try and incorporate some humor into all of my posts because I believe that theres almost no situation that some light-hearted jokes can't fix. I'm also a swimmer and YUGE Apple and Tesla fan!

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