Top 10 things to know about on-Grounds housing

So many questions, so much construction


Bice is a hot mess right now. Almost every day I receive a new email from housing about something that may inconvenience Bice residents. 

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

1. Parking is nonexistent

One of the things I was most looking forward to for second year was finally being able to have my car. Well, it’s here, but not anywhere nearby. I hear that parking at Lambeth is not as bad, but at Bice, I know approximately zero people with a parking spot — probably because there is a giant pit of construction where the parking lot once was. I’m not super bitter, however, since almost everything is a reasonable walking distance from Bice and if I’m really craving Panera or am in need of groceries, my car is a 20-minute walk away. That’s not very close, but it's also not three hours away in Chesapeake.

2. RAs are still a thing

Shout out to the poor RAs that have to stay up all night on coverage. I understood coverage when we were first-years and a bit incapable of taking care of ourselves, but now I think it’s mostly an opportunity to give us free food. Either way, it’s an A-plus idea. Speaking of free food, on-Grounds apartments apparently still do Dome Room Dinner, which almost makes the whole experience worth it because the food is always so good. Besides, who wouldn’t want to spend a night in Tundy?

3. Fire drills happen nonstop

Maybe nonstop is an exaggeration, but also maybe not. We’ve had three fire alarms so far, and it’s only the third week of school. Two of them were drills — I think we all know how to walk down stairs at this point — and one of them was set off by steam from the shower. One of the fire alarms was set off on a Sunday night and couldn’t be turned off for an hour. I know a couple people with conspiracy theories that there was some other reason we couldn’t go back into the building. I don’t know if I buy it though, since it does seem so quintessentially Bice to mess up a fire drill to that extent — said endearingly of course. 

4. Living with multiple people is like a real-life sitcom

My roommate Ashley was making quesadillas one night and the smoke set off the fire alarm in our apartment. Keep in mind that we live in a building that houses 300 people who would not have been ecstatic to have to leave their apartments for a fourth fire alarm (but who’s even keeping count at this point). Plus it was raining, hard. Ashley did all the things a normal person would do in this situation, which is freak out, cry, open all the windows and weepingly fan the smoke sensor — all to no avail. The alarm was as persistent as Ashley’s need for Mexican food that night. She later showed up sopping wet and very shaken at Starbucks, clenching a Tupperware with a crispy quesadilla she swore would be her last, ready to recount the whole tale to her disbelieving roommates. 

This is just one of many crazy things that has happened in apartment 305 this semester, and I’m chalking it up to four girls living in very close quarters. Sending much love to my roommates, but to everyone living with six people in your apartment — how?

5. You will definitely know people living in your building

Bice houses 300 people and Lambeth houses 800, as far as I know. With that quantity of people, and with most of them in your year at school, odds are you’ll see some familiar faces. I believe my current tally is 10 people that I know living in Bice, which is, to be honest, more people than I even thought I knew at this school.

6. Dealing with construction is a possibility

Okay, so I know this probably isn’t happening at other apartment buildings, but Bice is a hot mess right now. Literally almost every day I receive a new email from housing about something that may inconvenience Bice residents. They closed one of two ways out of the apartment building, meaning you’re pretty much leaving Bice through Nau or you’re not leaving. They cut off internet access for a day, they do construction at 6 a.m. and they’re installing a horn nearby. I feel like we’re all being pranked right now. I can assure you that we all hear the fire alarm every time it goes off and that a horn is just not necessary.

7. The convenience is so real

Finding off-Grounds housing at U.Va. is like winning the lottery. Unless you start looking in August or early September, you’re pretty much not going to find anything. Luckily, on-Grounds housing exists for those of us who cannot plan things that far in advance. Also, the location — at least at Bice — is so prime. I feel like if it were advertised on “House Hunters” they would really emphasize how short the walking distance to class and other localities is. Since I’m not big on walking and have grown weary of the bus, I’m ecstatic about the proximity to everything, specifically to all three Starbucks.

8. Having a kitchen is everything

Our kitchen may be small, but convenience-wise, it’s really doing the most. During our brief brush with hurricane-induced insanity and the possibility of being stuck inside with no power on all of our minds, it was nice to know that at least we had access to Cheerios and wouldn’t have to hike or swim to a nearby eatery that would probably end up being closed, leaving us both wet and hungry. Also, this semester I ended up having to leave my apartment by 8 a.m. almost every day so grabbing something from the fridge and eating it on the walk to the science-side of Grounds has really saved me from being extra bitter in the early-morning hours.

9. Sharing a bathroom is an experience

Since all of us lived in dorms first-year, we’re all very familiar with sharing a bathroom with probably a dozen people. However, being the one responsible for cleaning it is really a game-changer — especially for girls since hair gets everywhere. I would much rather be the one cleaning then go back to walking down the hall of a dorm, dripping wet and in a towel. Besides, sharing a bathroom with four people instead of a whole hall means more privacy and, therefore, more face masks.

10. I wouldn’t change a thing

Given the opportunity to move into a nicer, less humid apartment with fewer fire alarms and no construction — would I? I think no, but don’t tempt me. Living on-Grounds definitely has its ups and downs, but I would say that the net-direction is up. My roommates are amazing, the view out of my window is all green and trees — amen that I’m not looking at construction — and I finally have a place that is 1/4 mine and 4/4 adorable. All the fire alarms and construction are not going to stop me from thriving in the very first apartment I’ve ever lived in — can I get a big round of applause for adulthood?        

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