Friday, December 11, 2009

Need a Ride Home? Take Home Ride!

If you live in major metropolitan area in Virginia and go to UVa (or VTech or Radford or JMU) you have a great opportunity: Home Ride! What is this "ride," you ask? Well, it's run by a private company that serves students by providing busses to take them home for the weekend (or winter break). They route the busses to Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, or Richmond. The cost is different depending on the destination and starting point but I've taken this service many times and not only is it reliable (read: comes on time), the passengers are mostly students and there are no stops on the way so the trip to Northern Virginia takes only 2 hours.

Is it costly? Well, maybe. But isn't home worth it? I know that as a first year student you don't have a car and not everyone knows an upperclassman with a private vehicle. You could also take Amtrak, I suppose, which I've done but it might not be as convenient for you if your hometown is in Hampton Roads. And do you really want your parents driving all the way to Charlottesville to come get you just to drive back again?

Consider this great service next time you are going home if you live in the state. And if you don't, see if maybe you can catch the train from Union Station in DC to your house (because, you know, the NoVA drop off location is at a Metro stop).

Good luck on finals, everyone!  

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Every Hoo down in Hooville...

It’s here, it’s here! Today marks the LAST day of classes for the semester. But perhaps even more exciting is that in just a few short hours thousands of students, faculty, and community members will gather on the Lawn for one of my favorite UVa traditions: Lighting of the Lawn! Lighting of the Lawn is an annual event consisting of two hours building up to the flipping of the switch that illuminates the pavilions, lawn rooms and Rotunda, spreading festive holiday cheer. The lights remain lit every night until Christmas, helping to brighten the spirits of students drudging to and from the library as they study for final exams. While everyone waits to see the lawn lit up, hot chocolate and cookies are enjoyed, acappella groups perform, and the traditional holiday poem is read by prominent University figures. Just writing about this is making me even more excited to head over to the Lawn! Happy HOOlidays everyone!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

we come from old virginia...

I love football season – though, admittedly, that love may not be a characteristic that too many fellow cavaliers share with me (especially after this past season).  Most prospective students who possess the same affinity to the sport will take one look at this year’s 3-9 record and see it as reason enough to write UVa off.  However, as a devoted fan of the team and an ardent believer in the potential of our football program, let me just say that it would be a mistake to base such a decision on mere statistics; it is the entire experience of a gameday in Charlottesville that really showcases what we, as a university, and as a student body, have to offer.
Whether it be on the lawn, at Alumni Hall, or by the AFC, tailgating is an indisputably important tradition before every football game here at UVa; few things can compare to the sheer high-spirited nature of true wahoo fans during those hours preceding kick-off.
As game time draws near, and the crowds file into Scott Stadium, the level of enthusiasm can literally be felt all around.  Guys in ties, girls in pearls, and the sea of orange that epitomize our student section as well as the Hill are undoubtedly one of the first things that opposing fans comment on… and let me just say that there are few times when you feel prouder to be a student at the University than during those moments when students from others school stare in awe at juxtaposition between how we dress and carry ourselves at a game, and how they choose to behave. 
Even during bleak football seasons such as the one that we have just endured, all these other factors make it so that we, as cavaliers, can keep our heads held high.  Any true Virginia fan will say that a mixture of pure, unadulterated optimism, interspersed with humbled pride in our school will inevitably bring us back week after week, season after season.  And if those aren’t reasons enough to convince you, just wait until you sing your first Good Ole Song after a touchdown – there’s no turning back after that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Feel Like a Kid Again

Through all the stresses and activities of college life, there is a mandatory need to get away from it all every once in a while to stay sane. My weekly escape has been to volunteer at Wesley Community Day Care Center.

The Day Care program is one of 19 volunteer programs run through Madison House, our one stop shop for volunteering in the community. Wesley is one of 7 local daycares where students can volunteer. I volunteer about 2 hours a week in the Transition Room, playing with kids ages 1-2. The most rewarding aspect about the experience is having the two hours to spend with youngsters to just unwind from the stresses as a college student where you’re balancing classes with outside activities, all on top of making sure you figure out what you want to do with your life! These two hours are precious as the kids come up with interesting conversations and never seem to lose energy. Just the other day, I was having a "conversation" with a kid in the playground around a certain tree. He told me that he wanted to buy a chainsaw with the money that he has saved up so far to cut down the tree. Therefore, I ask him how much money he had saved up and he told me $2. I said he might need to save up a couple more dollars before he could buy one and then he tells me that he doesn't want to cut it down anymore: he wants to climb it!

If there is anything that I have gained from my time at the daycare, it is that kids do say the darnest things.

Picture from Madison House's Flickr