what free stuff can you get as a uva student
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10 Free Giveaways I'd Love To See At UVA-Sponsored Events

I've already got enough UVA-branded pens, plastic cups, foam fingers, and mugs to last a lifetime, but there's always room for more free swag.

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10 Free Giveaways I'd Love To See At UVA-Sponsored Events
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One of the first things most new college students here when they arrive at school, besides "this will be the best four years of your life," is that you'll get a lot of free stuff in college. I've been fortunate enough in this department that I've got enough UVA-branded pens, plastic cups, foam fingers, and mugs to last a lifetime. Still, I do think there's some room for additional creativity in the "free swag" department at UVA.

1. Neck pillows, for those quick naps you can never quite get comfortable for

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I'm not sure why so much nap-related content has sprung to my mind in the past couple of weeks. Perhaps it reflects my 4th year so far that has consisted of "doing everything and being a little bit tired all the time." Nevertheless, I've always wanted one of these neck pillows, and wouldn't it be great if they gave these out at football games so we could all comfortably nap during halftime? I think so.

2. Blue books, but before finals week, so we can all stock up for midterms

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I was reminded of this today when my new-to-UVA TA was shocked that students had to supply their own blue books for exams that they're already paying for via tuition. I am glad that blue books seem to be readily available during finals season, but I really wish there were more "come get free blue books!" events throughout the rest of the semester, which is when I'm more likely to forget to buy a blue book until it's too late.

3. Thomas Jefferson bobbleheads, in case we forget what he looks like

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I highly doubt that there's a UVA student who doesn't know that TJ is our school's illustrious founder. He comes up so often in classes and around Grounds that sometimes I wonder if professors are secretly scared that we'll suddenly forget about him. Why don't we invest in some real quality gameday giveaways that could actually serve as a useful educational tool years down the line, when we're too old to remember what TJ looks like even though we've never actually met him.

4. Maps of the Corner that tell you when's the best time to roll up to specific bars

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As a 4th year who was just recently granted the legal privilege to go out to bars, I'm still new to the game, and I feel like I have to ask a trusted friend whenever I'm deciding where to go. It would be great if all of-age UVA students could receive a guide of some sort that told us the prime times to go Bilt, Boylan, Crozet, Coupe's, and the like. One thing I've learned from my 4th-year friends, though, is that Trin is apparently almost never the move. Noted.

5. A squirt gun that sprays you with water every time you overextend yourself

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I really wish there was some kind of automatic signal or something to tell me when I've officially taken on too many things. I often feel like there's always room in my schedule for some other tiny commitment, but when you're already in 17 credits, multiple extracurricular activities, and applying for jobs, those seemingly small commitments can add up fast. Even if UVA doesn't currently offer said squirt guns to its very busy students, I think everyone should come up with some personal signal or way to alert themselves that they've taken on too much to do.

6. More of those clear Bicentennial tote bags, since you basically can't go to a sports game without one

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I luckily snagged one of these bags last October right before the Bicentennial last year when they were still free, and I've needed it for every game I've gone to JPJ or Scott Stadium since then. For first years who weren't here last year, I think that if UVA is going to effectively enforce its "clear bag policy" at all sporting events, it should provide all new students with a clear bag that they can bring to games. This will make for fewer instances of first years frantically sprinting back to dorms to put away their slightly-too-large purse before CavMan bursts onto the field.

7. An umbrella that can somehow fend off all this mist we've been getting

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I can't fully speak for my fellow students, but I do think I speak for a lot of us when I say that I have absolutely no idea how to protect myself against aggressive mist. Umbrellas are generally designed to fend off rain that's coming down from the sky, but how am I supposed to combat the mist that hangs in the air for hours and makes my hair instantly frizzy? Perhaps there's a UVA umbrella out there that has mini arms to swim through the misty air for me.

8. A sticker that says, "I hiked Humpback Rock and only stopped five times for air on the way up."

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Hiking Humpback Rock is a common activity for UVA students, whether they're actually outdoorsy or just a member of a CIO that happens to hike Humpback every semester. However, I have yet to hike up Humpback without stopping multiple times to catch my breath and coach myself through it. I'm clearly not the most athletic person out there, but every time I hike Humpback I feel like there's always at least one person around me who almost doesn't make it up the (very steep) hike. There should be some sort of consolation prize for completing this hike with a minimal amount of stops, wheezes, groans, and grumbles.

9. Ear plugs that only block out "Mr. Brightside" and nothing else

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I'll admit, when I first got to UVA I was fully on board the "Mr. Brightside" hype train. But now, having heard it and sung along to it approximately 3,884,058 times, I'm just a little sick of it. It's time for college students to collectively agree that though this song is great, there are O T H E R S O N G S. Granted, I still sing along and dance whenever I hear it at a party, but some of the joyful glee I felt singing along to it first year has dissipated. Just some, though. It's still a certified bop.

10. A poster of "119 Things To Do AFTER You Graduate"

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Like many 4th years, I got a poster of the 119 things I'm supposed to do before I graduate, which I've been diligently working through. However, fun times and exploration shouldn't end just because college ends. I plan to come up with a list of things I plan to do after I graduate that might contain anything from places to visit, restaurants to try, people to reconnect with, and the like. Anything to remind me that even if my life isn't as jam-packed with UVA-themed events after I graduate, I'd love to maintain a spirit of adventure and curiosity throughout the rest of my life.

Oh sure, there's nothing wrong with stocking up on UVA pom-poms, notebooks, phone clings, and sunglasses during your undergraduate career. But we UVA students have a few other essential needs that could potentially be filled by free swag. There's a famous saying that goes something like this: "You can never have too much free stuff, unless you live out of state and have no realistic way to transport everything home." As an out-of-state student, I try to live by this to the best of my ability.

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