Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some Things I Wish Were Different

Okay, it had to happen if I'm to be fair. There are some things I wish UVa would change or get more. No place can be perfect, and it's important to evaluate what a school does and does not have so that you can have all the cards in front of you before diving into a decision.


Everyone in Charlottesville says it. We need more parking. Driving is not worth it most of the time. In all fairness, as I said yesterday the buses and trolleys are free. Moreover, most things are in walking distance. I know one of my fears was that my mom wouldn't have a place to park if she visited me, but a lot of permit-only parking becomes free space for the weekend (thank you!). The catch is that you might have to park at Scott Stadium or University Hall. Neither are terribly far away, but they're not next door, either. Also, things farther away from the heart of Grounds (i.e., where you'll need a car the most) tend to have more parking space anyway, so when you need to drive, you're able.

Later Housing Registration

I've always found it a touch annoying that student organizations and even Housing espouse "Don't sign it" campaigns. The goal is to stop the housing cycle. That is, students sign up for off-Grounds housing in October because they fear there won't be houses left. It's a huge pressure and stress, and I get that. My problem is that Housing requires a yes/ no and where and who are you living with next year by early December. It's very annoying that they do that and want people not to make a decision about off-Grounds housing in the Fall. Students feel like they have to or they risk misunderstanding what their friends are doing. No one wants to end up the only member of the group in on-Grounds housing or the only one off-Grounds. It's a sticky situation. Fortunately, even though the deadline sounds soon--and to some extent, it is quite early--the system usually works without much problem. I've tried going in with a preselected roommate, and I've taken potluck, and it works out well regardless. What I'm trying to get across is that even though the deadline is in December, it's not a big deal. I wish it could be later, but I know that Housing has a lot of work to do, and they want to get it done sooner than right before it's absolutely necessary.

More Computer Labs

This paragraph is definitely a nod to Engineers and Architects. Lately, in an effort to keep tuition lower, UVa has trimmed down on some of its computer labs, and I really, really wish it wouldn't. Yes, there are still computer labs, but my concern is that when there were more labs, you could still be waiting to get a desktop. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences probably won't use the school computers much because they're rarely in a class that requires special equipment (let's face it--you don't need a super computer to operate a word document); however, as I said before, the Engineers and Architects may find themselves slightly more inconvenienced by this new change. A lot of these programs need some power behind them, and little laptops can't handle it, forcing them into a lab.

On the bright side, everything listed above is just for added convenience; there isn't something seriously, seriously wrong. Sure, it would make life much easier if the University just gave everyone a computer, then no one would have to go to a lab, but that's just not realistic, rational thinking. Look at what a school does or doesn't have and decide whether it really is a con for you. Maybe you love to drive and so the idea of limited parking is catastrophic for you. Maybe you get carsick and would rather walk anyway, so you don't care if there's any parking at all. It's completely up to you. You choose what's important to you.
And remember: relax. Shopping around for schools can be really fun if you let it.
*Also a special note of thanks to Steve Norum for his picture of dorms. Thank you, thank you!

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