helpful academic resources for uva students
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8 Underused Resources Available To UVA Students

College is all about taking advantage of typically underused resources and using them to enrich your experience.

8 Underused Resources Available To UVA Students

When you first start college, everyone always tells you to "take advantage of everything around you" and to "not let any opportunities pass you by." That can sometimes prove more difficult than it sounds especially at a school like UVA where some useful information can fall through the cracks in favor of hearing Thomas Jefferson's story one more time. However, in my time here, I've noticed a few useful "UVA hacks," both online and in-person, that have helped me out in many times of need.

1. Digital Media Lab in Clemons Library

I used to study in here a lot during my first and second years, but I only recently learned of the true breadth of the resources that the Digital Media Center offers. It's got everything you could possibly need for any digital project: the Adobe suite, a Virtual Reality station, a studio, an audio room, lots of Macs, etc. All of that sounds well and good until you realize that you don't know how to use any of the equipment and don't have time to go through the necessary training because your project is due tomorrow... back to "filming in my room with my phone," it is.

2. Scheduler tool on Course Forum

I used to use UVA ScheduleMe for this purpose until they flaked on all UVA students and started charging for their services. Luckily, right around the same time, Course Forum added a "scheduler" feature that basically does exactly what UVA ScheduleMe does, with no charge. It's certainly helpful to scroll through classes on Lou's List and look for inspiration, but it's even more helpful to be able to map out how your schedule will look in block form. Only then will you fully realize that taking four classes in a row is a truly terrible idea.

3. Streaming movies from UVA on the Swank database

This feature is buried on the UVA library website, but you can access it by looking through the UVA library databases. I've used it a couple of times to watch movies for classes, or just to watch a classic movie that I've been meaning to see. For those of you who are expert movie piraters and also enjoy older movies, no need to risk getting a computer virus just to watch Gone With The Wind any more.

4. The ability to check out computer chargers from most libraries

Every time I tell people about this, it blows their mind and their entire life flashes before their eyes. That reaction might be a little extreme, but it basically sums up the wonderful convenience of no longer having to panic when you're in a library and your computer battery is running low. Until I wised up and started actually carrying my computer charger around, I would constantly check chargers out of libraries and casually ignore the three hour time limit for using them. Sorry for everyone who I might have inconvenienced by doing that.

5. 10% off at the UVA Bookstore as a Student member of the Alumni Association

Not only does this Student membership get you a 10% off everything at the bookstore (except textbooks, the one thing we really need a discount for), but it also gets you discounts at several restaurants and stores around Charlottesville. I've used this to get a free drink with my meal at Little John's several times, and occasionally when I'm feeling particularly rebellious, I've successfully gotten a free drink there without actually ordering anything.

6. Doing hands-on research at the Special Collections library

I've only actually done research here once, for a History of Architecture project my first year, but I remember it vividly. It was super cool to go in during my very first semester, ask about seeing old blueprints and plans for a building on Grounds, and have librarians bring them to me like it was no big deal. Depending on the assignment, accessing old files, books, and manuscripts may not always be necessary, but even if you're just curious about a subject outside of class, the Special Collections library has a plethora of fascinating materials that can enrich any project.

7. The UVA Writing Center

I admit, I had to look up where this was, because I've never actually used it. However, for students who aren't that confident in their writing skills or who want extra help on a paper or an application, it seems like a really valuable resource. According to its website, the Writing Center provides tutoring, revising, and an encouraging pat on the back when you know your paper is good and you just need a self-esteem boost for the day.

8. Drop-in hours at the Career Center in Newcomb

The actual Career Center in Bryant Hall, aka the football stadium, may seem like it's several light years away, but since the Career Center also has an office in Newcomb there's really no excuse for not taking advantage of it. I've gone in there a few times to get my resume reviewed and to ask general questions about the internship recruiting process. It may sound scary to "go ask for help about your future" at the Career Center, but you'll get the most out your visit if you go in with specific questions or materials that you need help with.

In general, I've found that college is all about taking advantage of typically underused resources and using them to enrich your experience. UVA has so much to offer its students that it's easy to get overwhelmed, and it's totally okay to not be going out of your way to "get informed" all the time. Still, whenever you feel in dire need of career advice, writing help, or Adobe InDesign, know that your school has your back.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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