Friday, April 30, 2010

The End

As Shelby stated in her last post, this truly has been a year of firsts for me. Now as it all winds down, I wonder what I’m going to do this summer without all my U.Va. friends and all the activities on Grounds. This is my last real weekend here and there are so many things planned. I mean tonight there is a Class of 13’ sponsored block party in the quad. They will have a mechanical bull, a dj, a foam pit, and food, all for free. Then there’s also FYP’s performance of West Side Story happening all weekend ( a wonderful show, go if you get a chance). There are movies playing this weekend and it looks like the weather will be beautiful for a picnic on the Lawn. This is what I love about U.Va., even though exam time is getting too close for comfort, there are still so many great ways to unwind and just enjoy yourself. As I look back upon this year, I realize there is nowhere else I would have rather spent this last year or the next upcoming three.
Have a great summer and wonderful first year! (Hopefully at U.Va.!!!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reflections on a year too fast

Dear Readers,

For this my final post, I have decided to reflect briefly on my first year here at UVA, the fastest year of my life. On April 20, 2009, a year and seven days ago, I decided to come to UVA. Caught up in the euphoria of graduation, I really never took the time to consider the possibilities in store for me at Mr. Jefferson’s university.
When I look back at that Shelby of a mere 53 weeks ago, I cannot help but ask, “who was that girl?” Not only have my address, my best friends, and my academic interests all changed in this past year, but my entire attitude towards my education and other people has changed as well. I really don’t think that I will be able to recognize the degree of change I have undergone until I am able to get away from Grounds and do more reflecting this summer. I do know this though: I used to view my studies as a means to good grades, but this wonderful place has broken me of my grade-addiction. It has challenged me to learn for the sake of learning and to take hard classes and stretch myself scholastically. My unbelievable friends here have challenged me to live out my beliefs and to orient selflessly each day’s 24 hours. In high school, stress was my middle name, but that is no longer the case. Peace reigns in my mind, even though my life in college has become significantly busier.
The changes I have described are just a few among many. And many of the changes in my heart, I have not yet fully recognized or examined. So as I conclude this final post, I would like to challenge you. If you’re stuck deciding between universities, I challenge you to pick the place that will stretch you most, give you the most opportunities to engage with issues that matter to you, and provide you with a wealth of scholastic resources. For me, that place was UVA and I hope it is for you as well. If you do decide to come, please let me know. Maybe a year from now we can go to coffee and discuss the changes you’ve undergone during you first year here. Of one thing, I am certain: you will change if you come to UVA. And it will be wonderful. Are you ready?
Love and best of luck with any last minute decisions,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Walk A Mile and The Community

UVa definitely enjoys a close relationship with Charlottesville. For Halloween, children from both Charlottesville and Albemarle come to trick or treat on the Lawn, and on any day of the week, students visits local restaurants and craft shops. And for the last three years, both UVa students and community members have journeyed out to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Walk a Mile is an awareness event sponsored by SARA (Sexual Assault Resource Agency). The goal is to involve men in the process of ending rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. At the event, men wear high heels and literally walk a mile through and around the Downtown area. During the march, the participants have flyers that they can hand out, and of course, every marcher is encouraged to stop and engage the onlookers.

Alpha Phi Omega--the only co-ed service fraternity at UVa--was one of a number of student groups that came out to support the event. All in all, at least eighty people showed up to march. On a personal note, I thought the unity that Charlottesville-UVa community showed was admirable. This event wasn't a city-only meeting or student-only activity, and it's wide scale cooperation, mass participation that excites change for us all. I can only hope that people who get a chance to be part of movement certainly do not simply sit by and watch. Whatever the interest-- Amnesty International, QuAA, Minority Rights Coalition, Environmental Conservation, Global Public Health, anything--I encourage everyone to take a proactive stance. The rewards are immense, and cliche as it may sound, people find not only strength and purpose but also a stronger sense of self in pursuing ideals about which they are passionate.

To learn more about Walk a Mile or any of the number of services SARA offers, please visit:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

College: A Time of Firsts

After going out this past weekend rock-climbing outdoors, I realized that I have had many "firsts" since stepping foot in Charlottesville 3 years ago. Let me try to give you a sense of how much you can do at U.Va. and in Charlottesville:


1) First time going to a college football game
2) First time going to a college basketball game
3) First time going to any sort of lacrosse game


1) First time taking a psychology class
2) First time taking a classics class
3) First time taking a teacher/professor to lunch
4) First time a teacher/professor invited me to their house
5) First time texting a teacher
6) First time presenting a research presentation at a conference
7) First time reading a textbook that the teacher wrote


1) First time reading an application and voting on it
2) First time leading a organization
3) First time volunteering at a daycare
4) First time rock-climbing
5) First time hiking
6) First time ice skating and playing broom ball
7) First time having a roommate


1) First time preparing a meal from start to finish
2) First time running a dishwasher
3) First time trying sushi
4) First time trying Afghani food
5) First time trying crepes
6) First time getting a flu shot

Friday, April 16, 2010

great school, great town

So, I’m a bit late on the congratulatory remarks, but congratulations, anyway, class of 2014!
I’m sure that, by now, we’ve made it abundantly clear to you all that there’s always something to do on grounds at UVa, from our completely student run organizations to our abundance of clubs, there’s something for everyone.  Sometimes though, with all that goes on, it’s easy to forget that Charlottesville itself, apart from the University, is unique in what it has to offer.  The other week, I had friends come visit from out of town for a few days, and it gave me the opportunity to experience Charlottesville through the eyes of an awed visitor, rather than through the eyes of a native Virginian.

Surprisingly, it was an amazing time.  In a four-day period, we hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail, enjoyed the view from Skyline Drive, toured Monticello (and Ash Lawn-Highland… and Michie Tavern), vineyard-hopped for wine tasting, and, all in all, explored Charlottesville from the ground up.  By the end of it, not only did I find myself developing a newfound appreciation for this little city that UVa is nestled into, but I realized that there is so much here that students are simply not taking advantage of – all in all, what I’m trying to say is, once you’re here, be sure to explore Charlottesville in its entirety; you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yes, everything really is student run

Hi guys!
Gosh, it has certainly been a long time since my last blog post. During that time, many of you have received letters of acceptance from UVA. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ALL!
I believe that along with that acceptance letter came an info sheet about Days on the Lawn. As Lauren mentioned below, Days on the Lawn are days during which accepted students can come and get a taste of what being a student at UVA is like. For those of you who haven’t been able to make one yet, there are still two more left—one on Friday April 16th and the other on Monday April 19th.
One would think that the responsibility for a huge event like DOTL would be left to the employees of the Admissions department, but at UVA, such is not the case. The event is, for the most part, entirely student organized and staffed. This spring, I have been fortunate enough to serve on the leadership team for Days on the Lawn. The last month has been filled with preparation for the event—folder stuffing, recruiting volunteers, meetings, and lots of excel spreadsheet work.
All of the work came to fruition last Friday for the first DOTL. The team leaders arrived at the admissions office at 6 am to set up and then volunteers and families began to trickle in around 7:30 am. Thus far, it has been a huge success and a true testament to the faith that the UVA administration puts in its students. I hope to see all of you at one of our next ones if you haven’t been already!

Friday, April 9, 2010

summer, summer, summertiiiime. time to sit back and unwind

Okay, I know it is not Summertime yet; but, it almost is! And few places are as beautiful as Charlottesville when it starts to get warm! Everything is blooming, the grass is healthy and green, and there is always something going on outside. Whether it be study groups, class, charity events, Frisbee, or even puppies! The other week UVa's Student Council had puppies and painting on the South Lawn for Wellness Week.

These are the type of great activities that happen outside during this great weather. Of course other great activities happen during the colder time of the year as well, just inside! Springtime brings about an exciting time of the academic year. The semester is wrapping up, people are everywhere, the grounds are beautiful. It could not get any better.

The picture above is from the balcony of Gooch, a UVa dorm. Even the area around the dorms are serene. UVa has done a great job of keeping a natural scene throughout all of grounds.

UVa has great people, beautiful grounds, and activities/clubs/groups galore. The perfect undergraduate experience!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring in the Gardens

One of the things I love most about UVa are the gardens behind each pavilion on the lawn. When I was visiting in the spring and deciding between schools, I had explored all the gardens and thought they were some of the most beautiful aspects of grounds. Now that I am a student here, they have become such an essential part of my UVa experience that I couldn't imagine UVa without them. I have spent countless hours studying, reading and writing papers in the gardens; it's such a relaxing place to get work done while still enjoying the amazing weather (which we've had a lot of this week!). I've had brunch, lunch, and even dinner with some friends in the gardens, sitting on the grass or on one of the white benches set against the brick walls. During big sis week, I had a picnic with some other girls from my sorority as we were serenaded by one of the accapella groups on grounds. For me, the gardens are a place that represent all of my UVa experiences, from crunching in the last of a paper to relaxing for hours in the sun, they hold a lot of my memories from the past two years. Each garden is a little bit different, but every single one is absolutely beautiful. Some are good for quietly doing work in a secluded corner, some are perfect for sunbathing and laying on the grass with friends, and some are full of romantic nooks and crannys for couples. One of my favorite gardens is home to Noble, possibly the world's most amazing dog. If you visit this spring, make sure you take a walk through some of the gardens and talk to some of the students there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

He wanted no more than to drift and dream and enjoy a dozen new-found friendships through the April afternoons

Recently accepted students,

The past week has been UVa at its finest (made possible by the wonderful weather). Get here quick to see what, in my mind, the University of Virginia is all about:

1. Picnics on the Lawn
2. Students running and biking outside
3. Classes in the Amphitheater
4. Soccer, football, and frisbee in Mad Bowl
5. Studying on the grass near the Corner
6. People wearing bright colors
7. Smiling faces everywhere you go
8. Philanthropies and day parties
9. Patio dinners on the Corner
10. Conversations regarding the Foxfield Horse Races and unofficial UVa traditions like "Beach Week"

I came here because there was no academic institution on the same level as UVa. I stayed here and fell in love with UVa, however, because of the things listed above (and trust me, the list could continue).

I was reading on the steps of the Rotunda on Wednesday, and I kid you not, I could not stop smiling. I'd gotten no sleep and had tons of reading to finish before class, but I was so overcome with joy about my general UVa experience.

UVa hasn't always been easy, but it's during weeks like this that I realize how lucky I am to be here. Coming to UVa was, hands down, the greatest decision I ever made.

The next six days are beautiful, so come out here and see what UVa is all about!

Before I go, I want to leave you with a quote that came to mind when I was sitting on the steps of the Rotunda on Wednesday. It's from This Side of Paradise, one of my favorite novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the midst of my second-year spring at UVa, it really sums up my emotions:

"Long afterward Amory thought of sophomore spring as the happiest time of his life. His ideas were in tune with life as he found it; he wanted no more than to drift and dream and enjoy a dozen new-found friendships through the April afternoons."