Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ten Foods Guaranteed to Help You Survive First Year

If you're anything like me, then food speaks to you on a spiritual level. It gets you. You and food have a connection that surpasses the bonds between mere mortals. In times of sorrow concerning the latest Grey's Anatomy tragedy; in the moments of utter joy a Friday brings; and even those times in between the extremes, food can be a true source of comfort. For this reason, I've compiled a list of foods that will carry you through the ebbs and flows of your first year of college. More importantly, consider this a road map for avoiding the dining hall after eating French fries and pizza three nights in a row (but of course I'm not speaking from experience). I'm not saying you shouldn't be mindful of the dreaded "Freshman 15," but I'm also not telling you to prohibit your foodie flag from flying.

1. Ramen Noodles/Cup of Noodles
           Is it stereotypical college student food? Yes. Is it cheap? Certainly. Is it easy to make? Without a doubt. Ramen is a staple food during the first year of college for many students because it is, to say the least, cheap and easy. Beyond that, Ramen is like hipster chicken noodle soup for when you inevitably become sick during the school year. It's a source of comfort. It's dependable.

2. Soy Sauce
           Debatably a condiment, but necessary when spicing up noodle dishes and various other bland, potentially delicious meal sources. It's a cheap way to flavor food, especially when having a lazy day in the dorm. 

3. Oranges
           Here's why oranges are great: they last a long time, they're healthy, and the vitamin C packs a punch when a pick-me-up is needed. A bag of oranges from the supermarket will last at least three weeks, so it's no big deal if they’re not eaten quickly.

4. Cheez-Its 
           Another great snack food to have around the room. Whether it be dashing in and out between classes or settling down for some quality time with Netflix, these little beauties are fantastic. Caution: It's very easy to consume an entire box in one sitting without careful exercise of willpower. 

5. Steamed Veggies
           More healthy options! Steamed vegetables, the frozen packs that are bought in the supermarket, can be great microwavable foods that guarantee at least two meals. Experiment with the different flavors, but don't buy so many that the mini-fridge's even more miniature freezer becomes crowded.

6. Ice Cream
           This is just a staple for dorm life. I personally recommend those quart-sized Ben and Jerry's flavors, because you can sample a variety of concoctions. Ice cream can be for any occasion, and really I don't need to say more.

7. Breakfast Bars
           Sometimes (most of the time) you won't wake up early enough during the weekdays to go get a substantial breakfast at the dining hall. For those occasions, breakfast bars can be a lifesaver! They're also great snacks to have on hand throughout the day and for those times in class when a starving stomach is screaming in protest. 

8. Sandwich Fixings
           Let's just lump lunch meat, cheeses, peanut butter, jelly, and bread together to make this simpler. It's always helpful to have this stuff in the fridge for those times when you just want to eat something more filling than potato chips. Also relatively cheap, sandwich components are necessary food items.

9. Water filter
           Chlorinated water is gross and yet abundant. Water filters can fix that problem and guarantee a fresh drink in times of struggle. Perhaps they're a little pricier, but your taste buds will thank you later.

10. Candy

           This is pretty vague, and I'm keeping it that way. Whatever your sugar preferences may be, it's important to have some sweets in the room to keep you sane. People bond over this stuff, so make some friends through the mutual appreciation of sweets. Treat yo 'self. You deserve it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

History: The Underrated Major

Of all the majors at UVA one that doesn't get a lot of love, like commerce or anything in engineering, is the history major. Part of the College of Arts and Sciences history is an interesting and valuable major that UVA offers. So, without further ado, here are some things that future wahoos should know about history at UVA.

1. The incredible variety of courses
When thinking of history what might come to mind are high school classes that simply give overviews of history, from important names that you have heard of a million times to lists of dates of battles and the posting of Martin Luther's 95 theses. However, history has so much more to offer and at UVA you can take courses in African, Latin American, East Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and American history, among others. The courses range from general introductory classes to very small major seminars on specific topics or themes in history. 

2. You can take really random, weird classes
One of my favorite courses so far in my three years at UVA was in the history department called Supernatural Europe. In this class we discussed the history of supernatural beliefs and practices throughout early modern Europe. That meant that while studying for the final I got to talk about witches, vampires, werewolves, and possession by the devil, all in the name of academics. 

3. The major offers flexibility to study what interests you
To complete the major you must complete 11 history courses, though what exactly those courses will be is up to you. You must take one class in pre-1700 Europe, one in post-1700 Europe, one in U.S. History, one in African, East Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, or South Asian history, and a major seminar, as well as 5 classes in any area you choose. Within those broad guidelines you can tailor your schedule to what you want to learn about. 

4. The professors are amazing
To list all the various awards that the professors have you take up way too much time and space but suffice it to say that they are incredibly smart, accomplished people who always have time to talk to you during their office hours and are really passionate about what they teach. Not to mention that when you declare the history major you will get the opportunity to choose which professor you would like to have as your advisor.

5. You will read a lot
But fortunately that reading is rarely in standard textbooks. Instead you will read a variety of primary and secondary sources that is more than just names and dates on a page.

6. You will learn valuable, marketable skills
Not only will you learn how to large volumes of a variety of materials and synthesize that down into the most relevant and important parts, you will also hone your writing skills, talk intelligently about disparate ideas, communicate effectively, plan and organize your time effectively, and be able to sell your major and skills with fancy and desirable language like I did here. 

If you want to learn more about the history major (or minor) check out the department website here.