Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's always the small things in life...

Hey guys! Thanks for checking out the Hoo Stories blog! You won’t regret it—okay, I might be biased—but, seriously, I think you’ll find helpful information here as you read through some posts.

Here’s my quick blurb to introduce myself: I’m Christina Reynolds, a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences (CLAS). I’m hoping to major in Commerce and toying with the idea of majoring in Financial Math, too. I come from the sunny beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (if any of you OOS are curious about the transition, feel free to email me!) Although I do sometimes miss the sand between my toes, I absolutely LOVE living in Charlottesville and going to UVA—the seasons, the college town, the school spirit, and I could go on for hours, but I’ll save that for another post! I enjoy spending my free time working with Second Year Council and greening our community as a member of StudCo, as well as with my sorority and writing for you! (Here's a pic of me enjoying my first snowy winter with some sorority sisters—I'm the one on the right :)

It was difficult to choose one topic for my first post, but it became obvious as I went to the AFC (our newest gym, right between old and new dorms) yesterday—one subtle thing reminded me of why I absolutely love UVA and am so happy to be a Wahoo!

I’ve always walked to the AFC, as the commute totaled a whopping three minutes last year. Now that I’m living on the Corner, I decided to drive for time’s sake (gotta make it to class!) Anyway, I knew there was some sort of parking fee to park in front of the AFC, so I went inside to see what it was all about. As expected, it was a typical parking meter that I’d see at any garage or airport. I paid (thankfully, a reasonable $.50/hr), printed my ticket, and—as I do whenever I pay for parking anywhere—went back to my car to put it on the dashboard.

I was curious, though, because it didn’t say anywhere on the ticket “Please put this on top of your dashboard, so that it is clearly visible” or anything of the sort. I’ve parked in many garages in my day, and the parking receipt has always required that in order to prove your purchase. Weird. I shrugged it off, but as I swiped into the gym, I decided to ask the attendant about the parking ticket out of curiosity. “No, you don’t need to put that back in your car,” she told me, casually.

I was confused: I knew that I needed to pay for parking. Why would I not have to leave proof of my parking purchase at the AFC, when I must do so every other place that I’ve parked in my life?

And then it hit me. I am a UVA student. And as one, I am inherently part of the community of trust we have here at UVA, an idea unique to our university and a direct benefit of our Honor Code. There’s no need to go back to my car and prove I paid for it because all students are assumed to be honorable, such that we will not lie, cheat, or steal. The UVA community trusts that if I park my car there, I will pay for parking. In this case, it saved me five minutes after the clock started ticking. But what stands out to me more is all that this experience represents, especially knowing the kinds of standards that all UVA students are expected to uphold for themselves and their fellow students from the day they step onto Grounds. And in most cases, they do. These are my peers. It's awesome to be in a place where I am surrounded by so much integrity.

Without a doubt, our community of trust is one of the many reasons I love being at UVA. As a first year, I lost my wallet TWICE—yes, I may be a bit distracted sometimes—full of cash, all my credit and debit cards, and both my student and state ID. The first was in Alderman library, and a student immediately emailed me saying he had it. The second time I must have dropped it on the sidewalk while walking, and the grad student who found my wallet dropped it off in the psych department office and notified me that it was waiting for me. On the other hand, I lost my wallet with all its contents while I was home—not only was it not returned, but whoever found (or stole it) used my credit cards multiple times! Of course, I can't promise you that if you lose your wallet here, it will be returned to you, but I do believe that your chances are better when you are surrounded by the community of trust found here.

I'm looking forward to blogging for you! Feel free to shoot me an email about anything (cr5rb@virginia.edu). Until next time....

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