TRUSTEE: 114 Things NOT to do Before You Graduate

To the Class of 2018, welcome to the University! Here’s some advice to make your transition to life on Grounds a little smoother.


1. …try to match your bedding with your first year roommate. Chances are this will turn into your first feud, as one of you will surely be mad that you both have matching pink flower blankets.

2. …skip the activities at orientation. Who doesn’t want to take a hip hop class with your new classmates?

3. …attempt to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (or any where in Barracks for that matter) on move-in Saturday.

4. …skip Convocation. You’re not “too cool” for that.

5. …bring everything you’ve ever owned when you move into dorms. (Do bring old costumes.)

6. …forget to go to the Block Party. Although it seems like miles from dorms, it’s worth the trip!

7. …forget to carry a map with you around Grounds for the first week of school. It was a brutal awakening when I walked into Old Cabell Music Hall looking for my Greek Art History class…

8. …stick to one major or area of study from the start. Try to take as many classes in different disciplines as you can (African Dance, Middle Eastern History, Calculus, On Beauty and Being Just)

9. …skip Thursday Late Night at the Castle. Cyclops Burger Forever.

10. …wear a clay face mask (yes, like the kind to clear up your skin) to your 8 a.m. discussion because you slept through your alarm and ran to class in your PJs.

11. …avoid joining or trying out for a club, an organization or a major just because you’re uncertain or intimidated.

12. …be afraid to try anything for the first time!

13. …skip the Activities Fair. Although I did sign up for every club and was on the Belly Dancing Listserv until third year (sorry guys), I ended up finding great things to get involved in around Grounds, including Dance Marathon and the Monroe Society.

14. …eat all your meals on Grounds or on The Corner.

15. …pass up the giant chocolate chip cookies served at on-Grounds eateries. Once, at 8pm on a Wednesday night, my friend and I ran around to four different places on Grounds looking for them. Worth it. They are perfect.

16. …fail to call your parents for three weeks. But also, don’t call them three times a day.

17. …bring your headphones to Clemons Library, and instead ask to rent a set from them. Just see what happens. #I<3the80s

18. …use only one costume for all of Halloween. Remember, at the University, Halloween is really Halloweek.

19. …sign up for an 8am. You think you can manage it because it will be like your schedule in high school, but you will be wrong.

20. …fail to go to a football game in the Fall. Filling the hill is fun!

21. …camp out in Clark library during your first semester’s finals, claim the same desk every day for two weeks, and affectionately refer to it as the Treehouse.

22. …go all semester without going to office hours. Meet your professors, people! They want to meet you too. They’re really cool.

23. …fail to study abroad, or at the very least, study away from the University for a summer, or a semester, or two. Take it from someone who enrolled at NYU for a semester — a chance to study off Grounds can really enhance your experience on Grounds.

24. …avoid the Writing Center. Every major can benefit from a little writing help, and those Grad students really know their stuff.

25. …freak out when you have the last sign up time for classes on SIS. We’ve all been there, but it always works out.

26. …get caught up in comparing yourself to your classmates. A lot of talented, bright, people go to the University, but you just have to remember that you are talented and bright too.

27. …take the bus everywhere. UTS rocks, but so does walking, biking and long-boarding around Grounds.

28. …fail to go to brunch at O’Hill if you have a meal plan. No other place in Charlottesville lets you have an omelette as well as ice cream, pizza, and nachos at the same time.

29. …forget to read for pleasure. Even if you feel bogged down with reading for class, find time to pick up your favorite novel and lounge on the Lawn.

30. …go to Special Collections for the first time as a fourth year. It’s not intimidating — go check it out as soon as you can!

31. …major in something just because your parents tell you to. Obviously, respectfully listen to their advice, but do what you want. It’s your future!

32. …start worrying about second year housing in September. It always works out, and you don’t need to rush even though it might seem like you do.

33. …forget your iClicker!

34. …be intimidated to have a dance party on Beta Bridge for an hour on a weeknight if you really want to. In fact, don’t avoid wildcard college nights in general.

35. …say no to Pint Night. Or cheesy bread.

36. …wait until the end of the semester to go to a tutor, a TA, or your academic advisor if you don’t understand something or are having trouble in a class. They want to help you.

37. …miss out on Little John’s breakfast. Did you know they make omelettes?

38. …lose touch with your high school friends through the years. They’ll want to visit.

39. …miss Lighting of the Lawn because you are in the library studying. Light show on the Lawn is more important than a 10 page paper

40. …worry about whether you will join a fraternity or sorority. In the end, we’re all members of the University Community

41. …fail to pick the Rosemary that grows outside of the Special Collections Library — people have cooked with it before

42. …streak the Lawn with your shoes on. Because a) if you’re wearing shoes it doesn’t count and b) you’ll fall for sure

43. …worry if you’re not the first of your friends to declare a major. The ones that wait to take a bunch of classes and then decide are usually happier.

44. …leave Blue Moon Diner when they tell you it’s a 45 minute wait. It’s worth the extra time spent, and who doesn’t want an order of pancakes with George Costanza’s face on them?

45. …avoid taking a poetry writing class if you’re a Comm Schooler, or avoid taking a bio class if you’re a history major. You’re smarter than you think!

46. …forget to make time to read the news.

47. …be afraid of the Freshman 15. It all evens out by the time you graduate, or so we hope…

48. …schedule classes for Friday. Just don’t.

49. …order food to Clemons and not share it. It’s just cruel.

50. …reply all unless you really really need to.

51. …drive to the Farmer’s Market on a nice day — walk!

52. …forget to vote.

53. …avoid checking out books from the library.

54. …search for classes on SIS. Lou’s List that stuff.

55. …wear heels to a football game, ladies. Why would you subject yourself to that?

56. …miss out on non-traditional UVa sports. Play squash with a friend at Boar’s Head! Go cheer on the Swimming & Diving Team!

57. …be intimidated to go to CAPS.

58. …ask questions in a 500-person lecture.

59. …miss “Grounds for Discussion” at fall orientation.

60. …steal exit signs from Grandmarc.

61. …put off reading for class. Seriously when it comes to May 1 and you have 600 pages of reading to do, you’ll want to be outside, not in Clemons.

62. …leave college without studying in the dome room of the Rotunda.

63. …forget to ask for extra house dressing on the side at Take It Away. And don’t forget the bread ends too.

64. …stress about future plans (internships, jobs, etc.). Enjoy the University while you’re here!

65. …forget to pack a snack for Foxfield. Might we suggest a PB&J?

66. …go to St. Maartens without ordering their cheesy fries.

67. …forget to take a million pictures of you and your friends on the Lawn. You’ll cherish them one day.

68. …turn down an opportunity to be interview by NBC29. But if you are, don’t curse on television.

69. …watch all the University Basketball games on television… get tickets and go to JPJ!

70. …fail to Hike Old Rag or Humpback Rock at sunrise because it’s too early. It’s the most beautiful view of Charlottesville.

71. …forget about all the great entertainment you can find on Grounds — a capella concerts, Shakespeare on the Lawn, U-Singers. Your classmates are so talented!

72. …drive onto Grounds. Parking tickets here are the worst.

73. …forget about your high school hobbies once you come to college. You can still be on a sports team (club, intramural) or play instruments (music appreciation clubs, ensembles) once you get here.

74. …skip class.

75. …forget to stay in touch with your first year hall mates. They are the ones who knew you before you had everything figured out, and they were your first friends at the University.

76. …forget about the app for the UTS buses. Life saver.

77. …streak the Lawn in severe weather events. We’ve heard horror stories from snow storms, thunderstorms, etc.

78. …avoid using a planner. It’s the only way you can manage all of your meetings, classes, assignments, etc. I’d be lost without mine.

79. …forget about Bel-Air Market. I know it’s a bit further away then Take It Away or anything on Grounds, but you won’t regret it once you try the Ednam.

80. …wait until fourth year to master singing the “Good Ol’ Song.” You’ll look silly otherwise (believe me, I know).

81. …miss jazz nights at Millers.

82. …always avoid the people giving out flyers on the Lawn. You’ll probably have to flyer some day too, and it gets annoying watching people take fake phone calls to avoid taking one of your flyers. Plus, so many of the events and opportunities they are advertising are awesome, and sometimes, free cookies are involved!

83. …ever ask someone what their SAT scores were. Ew.

84. …forget about the Fralin Art Museum. Some amazing artists are featured there, and it is amazing that their work can be found on Grounds.

85. …call it FoxfieldS.

86. …just walk past the Rotunda. Sit on it. Eat on it. Dance on it.

87. …forget to the try the Dumplings truck. Those peanut noodles are perfection.

88. …stress if you don’t have time to go to the grocery story or CVS to run errands. The University Bookstore sells EVERYTHING, and they give money to AccessUVa.

89. …be afraid of first-floor Clem.

90. …forget to volunteer while you’re a student here.

91. …be too lazy to wait to use SAFE ride.

92. …miss the opportunity to take a class in a pavilion.

93. …go to Trinity before midnight.

94. …settle. Join a group in which you are the minority, and get out of your comfort zone.

95. …miss Flash Seminars, and don’t be afraid to plan one.

96. …be alarmed when you go home and your friends from high school are confused by how you refer to freshman year as “first year.”

97. …go to the Map Room of Alderman only to study; explore all of the old maps and newspapers they keep in there! Who doesn’t want to read their horoscope in the New York Times from March of 1982?

98. …forget that DC is so close by. I know some of you grew up around there, but for you out-of-staters and international students, take a weekend trip to DC every now and then!

99. …forget to follow Dean Groves on Twitter. It’s how we found out about all school closings. And he tweets some great things.

100. …only order sandwiches from Little Johns. Their chili is amazing, and it hits the spot on a cold night.

101. …let the Virginia No Tones die as an organization — we know some of you can’t sing…

102. …just go to Carter’s Mountain and pick apples. Try their apple salsa, listen to their live band, and enjoy the views of Charlottesville.

103. …miss the heavenly Blue Bell ice cream sold at West Range Cafe. It makes any bad day better.

104. …miss an opportunity to chalk around grounds. Seriously, grab your box of chalk and go doodle on the walkways around the Lawn.

105. …forget to look at holds on SIS. They’ll come back to bite you.

106. …always exercise indoors. Get outside! Monticello Trails are somewhat of a hidden gem.

107. …be the group member that does nothing.

108. …steal other people’s clothing when they’re streaking the Lawn!

109. …forget to refer to Thomas Jefferson at least once a week.

110. …streak Mad Bowl. It’s not the Lawn…

111. …forget to write a professor a thank-you note when they write you a recommendation, or even when you finish a class that made an impact. Saying thanks is always a good idea.

112. …be scared of going to a larger school. It just means there is that much more opportunity to meet new people, get involved in different groups, and take a wider variety of classes.

113. …forget to look through the keyhole and say “Goodnight Mr. Jefferson.”

114. …take for granted the time you have here. It’s four years, and it’s precious.

And remember, we’re rooting for you!

Sarah Salinas and CeCe Conner are Fourth Year Trustees.

Published May 4, 2014 in Opinion

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