Make one more trip back to the store

First-years: Let me begin by commending your bravery. You have recently endured a difficult few days of saying goodbye to your friends and families back home, packing away your entire lives and arriving to a foreign place only to realize you don’t have air conditioning (unless you live in Kellogg, Woody or Cauthen, and if so, get prepared to hear a lot of your new friends whine).
It is likely you brought a formidable array of belongings with you to Charlottesville. Your parents shoved, crammed and bungeed an extraordinary amount of boxes and personal belongings into your car until it resembled that of the Joad family from “The Grapes of Wrath”. When bestowed with graduation money and last-minute sympathy shopping from parents, things certainly add up.
Yet despite your incredible supply of storage bins, school supplies and party clothes you tried your hardest to conceal from your mother, I assure you there are still items you will need for a successful first-year residential experience. These essential college survival items may not be mentioned in those overrated college prep books — in fact, some you may have never before considered.
When I rolled into Hancock my first year with an inflatable bed in tow, my roommate thought I was insane. Space is already a premium on McCormick Road, and girls don’t exactly pack lightly. This handy item, however, saved my hall from erupting into an all-out civil war. When hallmates dictate their roommates’ room schedule and sleep cycle by means of their significant other, it gets to be a very tense environment for everyone involved. You’ll learn the ins and outs of “sexilement” as you gain worldly experience this fall, but I assure you that having a bed to offer the victimized makes for a peaceful and harmonious hall or suite.
But if all worst-case scenarios are taken into account and everything but the kitchen sink is packed accordingly, chances are that space will not be sufficient in the dorm. One can either do without certain items (yes, say goodbye to the unicycle and the Harry Potter book set you’ll never read again) or manipulate physics and spend about $10 to remedy the problem. Bed risers add about 6 or 8 extra inches of space under your bed and provide a sanctuary for oddly shaped and unattractive items, as well as all the additional junk you will inevitably accumulate throughout the year.
While packing and space are two of the most important obstacles to overcome as a first-year, there is another issue that is less easy to conquer and destroy: communicable disease. Dorms may be a party haven and the center of social activity, but they will also become a raging cesspool of bacteria and germs. Your mother didn’t ask me to write this, but I urge you to keep on hand a set of anti-bacterial wipes and hand gel. When one person catches something, it’s terrifying to see how many people wake up the next morning with similar symptoms. You’ll thank me later when it’s midterm season and you’re the only one not suffering from a sinus infection or conjunctivitis.
I admit that in our busy schedule as students, extracurricular activity-goers and faithful Wahoos, it is hard to find time to accomplish the simple chores of basic living. Laundry, with its expenses and blatant inconvenience in the first-year area, is the first to come to mind. Luckily, modern science has made it no longer necessary to wash clothing that was tragically stained or to iron clothing that is wrinkled from the previous night’s indiscretions. With detergent in a pen and anti-wrinkle laundry spray, freshly laundered clothes are only minutes away. And if you are the type who will abuse such powers to the ultimate extent and never actually do laundry, there is always Febreeze to cover up your pungent odor.
I hope my words of wisdom help in some capacity. It seems as if life is thrown at you all at once after moving in, and if you can do anything to make daily living a little bit easier, go for it. You all are the smartest and most capable incoming class of young scholars at the University to date (until next year, of course) and I have no doubt you will surmount any obstacle that comes your way. I wish you all the best of luck this year. On behalf of everyone, welcome to the University of Virginia.
Bailee’s column usually runs biweekly Fridays. She can be reached at bab8u@virginia.edu.

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