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A Guide to Surviving the First Week of Class

8 Things Every Vol Should Carry in their Backpack

It’s officially fall here in Big Orange Country! You’ve most likely already moved into your new home on Rocky Top, but now it’s time for the real work. Classes are getting ready to start, and the semester will soon be in full swing. Your Housing staff wants to make sure your transition into the fall semester goes as smooth as possible. Below we’ve listed a few things that seasoned Vols have found essential to surviving your first week of classes. Check them out!

1. Vol Card

To say that this is your lifeline on campus is an understatement. Your Vol Card is the most important item to keep on you at all times. Without it, you won’t have access to your meal plan, dining dollars, residence hall, athletic events, etc. Go ahead and do yourself a favor—find the perfect spot to keep it. Whether it’s in a phone wallet, on a lanyard, or a special pocket in your backpack, make sure it’s on hand at all times!

2. Clicker

For your first two years, I can almost guarantee that at least one of your classes will require a clicker. With large Gen-Ed classes, this is the easiest way for professors to take attendance and encourage participation in class. If you forget your clicker, it’s as if you weren’t in class that day, and you lost your participation points for the day! In the end, those few points could be the difference between an A and a B in a class. Don’t let a simple mistake like that get in the way of your soon-to-be 4.0!

3. Umbrella

This is a hard lesson to learn in college: Always check the weather. I repeat, always check the weather! Whether you’re an in-state student or out-of-state, you should know that weather is unpredictable on Rocky Top. Despite what the forecast says, you might walk to your first class of the day in sunshine and come out fifty minutes later to find a torrential downpour. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep an umbrella or poncho in your backpack just in case. You don’t want to be caught on the other side of campus from your car or residence hall without one of these.

Oh, and I heard the VolShop has some pretty sweet checkerboard umbrella’s right now… check them out here –> https://shop.utk.edu/

4. Headphones

These are one of my favorite items to keep on my person. Listening to music while walking between classes is a great way to destress. If you have a large gap between classes, you can just pop in your headphones and watch Netflix, listen to music, or watch review videos for exams. You’d be surprised how handy these can be!

5. Computer charger

Whether you take notes in a notebook or on your laptop, it’s a good idea to carry your laptop and it’s charger with you. If you have a large gap between classes, you can find a place in the Student Union or Hodges to get a head start on assignments. You’ll quickly learn that a majority of assignments are submitted online through Canvas or another program, so it’s important to have access to those in class and on your breaks!

6. Portable phone charger

Are you like me and have a heavy load of classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Then this is the item for you! With the help of a portable phone charger, you can stick your phone in your backpack during class and charge it. This way, you won’t miss out on a study session or dinner with friends due to a dead phone after your long day of classes!

P.S. Look out for tables set up around campus at engagement fairs—we might be there handing some of these out! 🙂

7. Sunglasses

In case you didn’t already know, Pedestrian Walkway is an extremely bright area of campus. Even after that morning rain shower, the sun will reflect off the pale walkway. As this is the way to a majority of your classes on campus, the glare can make that afternoon stroll from Ayres to Presidential Court an extremely difficult one. So, make your life a bit easier and stick a pair of sunglasses in your backpack just in case. You might even get lucky one afternoon and run into someone who is giving out sunglasses for free!

8. Refillable Mug or Water Bottle

Your days may be long on Rocky Top, and the last thing you need is to go dehydrated. You can find a water bottle refill station in almost any building on campus as well as scattered across Ped Walkway. In addition, our friends with UT Recycling and UT Dining have collaborated to create something called “The Mug Project”. The Mug Project allows you to go into practically any on-campus dining facility and refill your cup (24 ounces or less) with a fountain drink or drip coffee for only $1.19! This saves forty cents or more each time! The program also allows for 15% off specialty drinks at locations like Einstein’s or Starbucks across campus. This is the best way for you to create less waste, and save those dining and flex dollars all in one!

To learn more about The Mug Project, check it out here –> http://recycle.utk.edu/projects/the-mug-project/

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