Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dorms 101: A Crash Course in First-Year Housing

Roommates? Sharing bathrooms? RAs? What?!

Welcome to dorm life!

Since many of you are either newly admitted students (congrats!) or prospective students looking to gain some perspective on the UVa student experience, I thought I'd shed some light on the many housing options available here.

(This post will focus primarily on first year housing.)

McCormick Road Residence Area 

Affectionately known as "Old Dorms" to most UVa students, the McCormick Road Residence Area is made up of five dorm associations: Kent-Dabney, Metcalf-Lefevre, Bonnycastle-Hancock, Page-Emmet, and Echols-Humphrey. They're all traditional, hall-style dorms with communal bathrooms, and they're separated by floor in terms of gender. They're also only about a 5 minute walk from central grounds and most classes.

About the "old" part...

Yes. They are old. They may not have air-conditioning and the carpets may look like they're from the 1950's and I definitely wouldn't go in the bathroom without a solid pair of shower shoes...BUT. Old Dorms can also be an amazing place to live during your first year. They're known for their social atmosphere - so leave your door open and get to know your hallmates; they may become some of your best friends. You never know!

Important thing to note: During the 2017-2018 academic year, Bonnycastle, Kent, and Dabney will be closed for major renovation.

Alderman Road Residence Area

Elevators, TV lounges, and air-conditioning galore - welcome to "New Dorms" (yeah, you guessed it - they're new!). The Alderman Road Residence Area is made up of nine different dorm associations: Balz-Dobie, Cauthen, Gibbons, Kellogg, Lile-Maupin, Shannon, Tuttle-Dunnington, Watson-Webb, and Woody. They're all hall-style with communal bathrooms, and like old dorms, are also gendered by floor. They're about a 10 minute walk from central grounds, but located conveniently right next to Observatory Hill Dining Hall.

The "lowdown" on New Dorms:

Yes, they're new. They're shiny. They have ~fancy things~. But just like Old Dorms, they also have their downsides. New Dorms are located slightly farther away from central grounds, so if you're one to roll out of bed five minutes before class, living here might be somewhat of a struggle!

Malone: Due to the renovations going on at Old Dorms, some first-year students will be housed in Malone, which is structured similarly to New Dorms and is located just a few minutes away from them.

Gooch/Dillard Suite-Style

The Gooch/Dillard Suite-Style residence area is UVa's only suite-style dorm available to first-year students. It's made up of nine buildings, all with two-story suites that house 6-10 students each and come with furnished living and bath areas. Suites are single-sex, and yes, there is air-conditioning (!!!). These dorms are approximately a 15 minute walk from central grounds, but are located right next to Runk Dining Hall (unofficially known as the best dining hall on grounds).

The 411:

Gooch/Dillard is great if you're looking for the close-knit environment provided by suite-style dorms. But like any dorm, there are some downsides. Gooch/Dillard is the farthest dorm from central grounds, so most students choose to take the bus instead of walking to class. But hey, consider it exercise!

Residential Colleges

None of those options sound right for you?

Consider applying to live in one of UVa's three residential colleges: Brown College, Hereford College, or the International Residential College. Each has their own unique "vibe": Brown focuses on creativity/art, Hereford on sustainability and environment, and the IRC is a combination of both international and domestic students.

It's important to note that all residential colleges house 1st-4th year students, so you'll be living with students of all ages, majors, and backgrounds. This is a GREAT opportunity to make new friends and get some ~sage advice~ from older students!

No matter where you end up, your first-year dorm experience will be unlike anything else. It's a chance to live on your own, make some great friends, and have a great time - so take advantage of it!

First-Year Housing Options:

First-Year Housing Application:

The CVille Food Scene- Pt. 1

 ***Attention visiting parents and prospective students*** 
Searching for Charlottesville lunch suggestions??? 
Look no further! 
Here is a list of some of UVA students’ top-ranked restaurants:

The Classic “Lunch on the Corner” Options:

If you dine here, you are sure to have the quintessential UVA experience. The waiters and waitresses are mostly UVA students, and will always greet you with a warm smile. Their food is great and there is something for everyone here- a very kid friendly restaurant if there are any picky eaters in your family. If it's a nice day outside, make sure to take advantage of their outdoor seating.
Must have: Without a doubt the mac n’ cheese—the Virginian is known for their decadent mac n’ cheese, which is thick, creamy, and topped with a perfectly round hash brown

Inexpensive. Innovative. Inspiring. Bodo’s is everything that UVA students dream of. This is what fuels us during exam seasons, Sunday mornings, and anytime we need to grind out a paper in Clemons Library. The authentic New York water-style bagels are always made fresh... so fresh that they don’t even need to toast the bagels for you!
Must have: Any bagel with any topping! It’s all good!

Easy. Quick. Healthy. Roots is a favorite among all UVA students—for it is the quickest way to get a super healthy and filling meal near Grounds. They serve bowls with rice, veggies, and meats, and are accommodating to all dietary needs.
Must have: El Jefe— A brown rice base with chicken, kale, black beans, charred white corn, red onions, feta, pita chips, avocado, and their famous cilantro lime dressing ~heavenly!~

Christian’s Pizza is both cheap and delicious. It is the best place to eat if you can’t decide between the many Corner restaurants, are short on time, or are just really craving a decent slice.
Must have: the white-based tri-color tortellini pizza—it’s a combination of two awesome foods and somehow tastes absolutely amazing... what more could you want?!

If you’re looking for a sit-down lunch, inside or out, Boylan is the place for you. Boylan is a restaurant and bar that students and locals frequent year-round. It’s a great place for students to have lunch with friends, and the perfect location to watch a sports game

Must have: BYOB—build your own burger!!! Lots of great options made with the finest ingredients

Monday, March 13, 2017

What are some fun things to in your free time as a student?

One common question I tend to get as a student is this: "What do you like to do for fun in Charlottesville?" Usually many people who visit might think that they are limited to things on grounds provided by the university. However, I find that some of the funnest things to do to bide my time are around the city of Charlottesville!

Here are a few of my favorite spots/things to do:

The Downtown Mall
So in downtown Charlottesville there is a big strip of shops, restaurants, and other interesting places that you can walk through, being especially nice when its warm.

Around here some examples of things to do are: go to an ice skating rink, go watch a hockey game, go to the Jefferson Theatre and watch a movie or any performers that may be performing a concert, go eat in one of the many restaurants, etc. etc. etc. I personally love to walk around here in the Fall and Spring time.

Image result for UVA downtown mall

Carter's Mountain
So basically Carter's mountain is an apple orchard, but during the Fall and Spring time they hold this thing called a sunset series which is an event every Thursday night in which they stay open and people can come watch the sunset from the top of the mountain. Usually there are bands there, and they serve lots of different foods and especially my favorite: apple cider donuts.

Exploring Grounds
Now I had to throw something on the UVA grounds for the list, just because exploring the grounds never gets old. Simply walking around UVA with friends and finding hidden areas and different details you did not know about before is really cool and fun when you first get here. It may seem like a maze at first, but finding myself in one of the Lawn Gardens after aimless walking during my first week on grounds was one of my favorite experiences. 

Image result for uva garden

That's all I have, so if you have any questions, comments, or requests, just comment below!