Monday, December 24, 2012

All the Hoos down in Hooville

It is another (much needed) winter break here at UVa! :) The stress of finals has turned into the joy of the holiday season! A few bloggers and one special guest will be telling you in the next few blogs about the many different ways that a Hoo spends his/her break.

The winter break starts with sleep and lots of it! Finals tend to drain me so I come right home and sleep sleep sleep so that I can be a normal person for my family. :) I came home on the 19th so I didn't have much time to waste before getting the house decorated for Christmas! Christmas is by far my favorite holiday--I love the joy that is all around! :) I also love coffee and gingerbread cookie decorating!

I also love Santa. The big guy has never let me down and it is definitely nice to believe there is a little magic in this world. :)

After I decorated everything I went to the store to buy some last-minute gifts for my family (didn't have much time to shop until now). I love shopping! So it is always very fun shopping for my family. :)

Yesterday, I went to Christmas at my sister's fiance's family's house (that was a mouthful!). That was really fun and delicious (it is always nice to have a break from dining hall food).

For the rest of break, I will probably be hanging out with my family and reading romance novels :) I love break but I am already missing the beautiful UVa! I am definitely ready to go back! :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Holiday Gift from Me to You

As grounds begins to light up with the spirit of the holidays I was putting some thought into what I could give you all for the holiday season. I figured it might be a little difficult to send you each a string of lights that get placed around the rotunda this time of year, or the amazing holiday specials at Para Coffee, and inviting you each to cookie decorating on the lawn seemed like it might be a little more than I could tackle. Instead, I want to give you guys insight into the best website to ever exist on the Internet...yes, I said EVER...and yes, I meant it. So here you go...

I want you to rip this sucker up like you're 5 years old and Santa not only brought you a puppy but also the Batman action figure that all your friends had and was the one thing you needed to be invited to eat with the cool kids at lunch.

Don't take this gift lightly, it is as special as your siblings, your parents, and grandparents combined. In fact, we might even be able to throw your great grandparents and aunts and uncles into that mix.

Are you ready? Do you think you're ready?

Here it is! Lou's List!

Before I explain the joy behind Lou's List I want to introduce you to the coal that has been left in your stockings. That coal is the Student Information System, otherwise known as SIS and proof that you did something wrong this year that lead to Santa leaving you one thing of coal. If you have applied to UVa already or plan on applying this year you know what I am talking about. SIS is the place that applicants go to confirm the completion of their application as well as to receive their admissions decision. You aren't done with SIS after your acceptance though, SIS will haunt you for the remainder of your time at UVa. SIS is used to register for classes, check grades, confirm exam schedules, and some other thing that I have yet to discover. I will let you figure out the pains of SIS on your own rather than spend another 8 paragraphs describing the difficulties to you.

So Santa left you this coal, does this mean that you did something so bad that you won't be getting any other presents this year? No, no it does not. Hitting your brother and pulling your sisters hair were made up by sharing your cookie with your sister when she was crying and helping that old lady load groceries into her Buick (let's be all old people who grocery shop have Buicks). These acts are rewarded with Lou's List.

Lou's List allows ease for of access to courses that are available for the upcoming semester as well as the current semester and semesters past. It informs you who is teaching the class, where the class will be held, what time the class is, how many people are enrolled, how long the waitlist is, etc, etc. What makes this better than SIS...well pretty much everything!

I'll let you guys go ahead and explore these two sites in order to understand the advantages of Lou's List over SIS. Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall on the Mall

Dear Readers,
Here's a snapshot of the greatest time of year at the University:
Crisp leaves crunch under your feet and fall from the trees as you walk to class.
The Lawn is sprinkled with piles of orange and red begging you to jump in them. 

Everything feels like the epitome of college. 
It's fall in Charlottesville, and its magical. 
Suddenly, you're inspired to explore a little more of Charlottesville. 

The Historic Downtown Charlottesville Mall
Just a short trolley ride from central grounds, the Historic Downtown Charlottesville Mall offers a look into the greater Charlottesville community. Ranked as one of the most successful and beautiful outdoor malls in America, the Downtown Mall is host to a number of activities that make for the perfect getaway anytime of year. 

At the end of the mall is the Downtown Pavilion, where anything from concerts to political rallies come for UVa students and Charlottesville community members to enjoy.

Pretty Lights performs at the Pavilion

UVA Students wait in line to hear the President speak Downtown
President Obama speaks at the Downtown Pavillion on the first day of classes

Clothing stores like Urban Outfitters, Jean Theory, Vintage Vixen, and Young Men's Shop are great for shopping, while unique independent bookstores provide peaceful spaces to study and explore whatever your heart desires.

The multi-level Urban Outfitters on the Mall
A quiet reading nook in "Read It Again, Sam" Used Bookstore
A collection of leather-bound books in Blue Whale Books 

Charity walks also happen on the Downtown Mall, bringing together UVa students and the Charlottesville community to fight for different causes together.

Alzheimer's Walk 2012 on the Downtown Mall

Community members and students alike participate

The Pre-Med club AMSA volunteers at the walk Downtown
Street performers sing, busk, and play jazz music, while A cappella groups and flash mobs often spring up and draw sizable crowds.

Great food is always available on the Mall too! From Italian to burgers and dessert, the Mall has it all, and just outside the main stretch of mall lies the greatest little building ever built: a building full of crepes.

Shrimp pesto pizza from Sal's Caffe Italia

The hub of the best crepes ever made on earth

Blue cheese burger from Citizen Burger Bar

Last, but certainly not least, the Downtown Mall offers one of UVa's great traditions, the Farmer's Market. Every Saturday from 7-12  the City Market offers fresh food and homemade products from local Charlottesville producers.

Handsewn children's clothing
Fresh veggies 
One-of-a-kind paintings 
One of many fresh and unique juices

Fall on the Historic Downtown Mall is one of the things I love most about my school. Charlottesville is such a unique and beautiful place to live and learn, and with so much going on at the Mall as well as on Grounds, there is never a dull moment.

Happy applying!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Walk to Class

There is nothing more beautiful than an autumn walk to class in Charlotteville. Whether it is from your dorm or apartment or even a sprint from a dining hall to the most remote building on grounds, there is nothing better than the colors on the trees, the crispness of the air, and the smell that invites you to take a deep breath and enjoy both the city and school you are apart of. 

I walk a gorgeous path everyday, I invite you to take the walk with me today!
This is right outside my house on Wertland Street. Wertland Street is a popular off grounds housing area for those who are 2nd-4th years. Just look at that tree! Even living in the city we still get the amazing colors of the country! 

Sorry this isn't the best picture but right down the street from my apartment is the Georgia O'Keeffe house. O'Keeffe used to spend summers in Charlottesville when she was a girl. So much history in this city! 
This is one of my favorite houses on the street. It's the football house. They keep their Christmas decorations up all year so if your ever in the mood for a little holiday spirit during the summer just drive down Wertland Street. 

A Corner. 

The Corner has so many great shops and places to eat. Last year I would always head here whenever I was sick of dining hall food. Now that I'm not on a meal plan I eat at one of the many restaurants almost at least once a day. If you're visiting and not sure where you should stop for some classic Charlottesville cuisine just head to The Corner, there is no bad decision to be made when it comes The Corner. I'll give a shout out to Pigeon Hole on Elliewood, get their hashbrowns!

When you visit Charlottesville you HAVE (take note to the capitilized, bold, and underlined effects on the word have) to go to Bodo's. They have the best bagels you will ever eat. I don't think you've lived until you've had one of their bagels. It took all my will power not to stop their when I took this picture. 

Over on those steps were Navy women putting up the flags this morning. I later found out that was one of my friend's who is NROTC and she said she was so embarrassed that someone was taking a picture. 

One of The Lawn rooms. 4th years have the chance to live in these rooms, it is a true honor. From what I hear they don't have heat so that's why those logs are outside the room. 

There is always a lot going on at here at UVa. Today there were flags out in preparation for the last home football game against UNC on Thursday. Don't forget to watch on ESPN and support the Hoos!

Wilson Hall

Finally made it to lecture. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Driving Down the Blue Ridge Parkway: Greek Getaway

      A few weekend ago, I decided to brave the outdoors and go for a scenic drive down Blue Ridge Parkway: the final destination? The Greek Getaway.
      I joined a sorority my first year spring. Coming from a Greek family, from mother to sister, aunts and even grandmother, I knew I wanted to try out Sorority rush. After a Christmas break of debating what outfit would best represent me, I entered the sphere of recruitment and found a sorority that fit me. Greek Life at UVa is rare. The tight knit community allows for activities, philanthropies, social events, and adventures that are hard to find amongst a large group. The 16 sororities and over 30 fraternities create a huge group of members that are all linked behind the idea of brotherhood and sisterhood. However, the diversity amongst sororities and fraternities is what I find so rare about the Greek Life at UVa. The activities range from Greek Getaway with Greek InterVarsity, a Christian group of approximately 30 people that meets on Wednesday nights, to Intramural sports, Greek Week Carnival, and trunk shoes. One of the most rewarding parts of joining a sorority for me has been the introduction of many new friends, particularly through Greek InterVarsity.
       As I continued to drive down Blue Ridge Parkway, listening to Christmas music, at an embarassingly early time in October, I saw a little house on a hill surrounded by fall trees and rolling hills. As I pulled up, I couldn't help but take in breaths of the fresh air and feel the anxiety of college courses, strict schedules, and deadlines leave me. This weekend, I can honestly say, was one of my favorites in my three years at school. The Greek Getaway was the getaway from life and anxiety that I needed. I joined my small group, composed of JMU and UVa students, to discuss topics from how we live our life to how we want to live our life. Although the discussions were rich and the company serene, the most amazing part of this weekend was the scenic, rolling, fall covered hills. The walks, the bonfires, and the act of just lying silently on dew covered grass were all pinpointed memories of a weekend I will never forget.

Monday, October 29, 2012

HOOS in Pink

Wow! I can’t believe Halloween is so quickly approaching and that October is almost over. Time flies when there are so many opportunities available on Grounds. This month has been full of colorful Fall leaves, football games, volunteer opportunities, and plenty of time to show your pink side (and I’m not just referring to October 3, aka National Mean Girls Day). This month clubs at UVA hosted a multitude of activities to show their support for Cancer Awareness.
I continuously strive to participate in as many activities as possible on Grounds because it’s a great way to get involved and make new friends! On October 13, Relay for Life at UVA held their annual Fight Cancer 5k. It was a wonderful opportunity to get some exercise, take a tour of Grounds, and raise awareness about cancer. Hundreds of students and guests participated in the event, and even if you didn’t want to run the 5k then you could raise awareness in other ways. The club sold “Relay for Life at UVA” bracelets, had a stand to sign up for the bone marrow registry, handed out every color ribbon to raise awareness about all cancers, and even had a hair streaking station. I loved that we were presented with the opportunity to get involved in so many activities at one event. My friends and I ran the 5k, and of course, we had to get pink streaks first, display our ribbons, and hang up a sign with the name of who “We Relay For…”
My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Fight Cancer 5k and rocking the pink strands in our hair, but we couldn’t wait for the Pink Out at the Wake Forest versus University of Virginia football game on October 20. We went shopping at the University Bookstore, bought our “Hoos Think Pink” shirts, and couldn’t wait to show up at the game decked out in our pink apparel (especially since pink is my favorite color).
Although we were preoccupied with our thoughts about the football game and our pink attire, we’d made a commitment to volunteer at Pancakes for Parkinson’s. Pancakes for Parkinson’s is hosted each year on the lawn as a fundraiser for Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Students and the Charlottesville community participate in face painting, musical entertainment, mixing pancake batter, and of course, devouring thousands of pancakes. This year I painted faces and helped construct arts and crafts projects in the Kids’ Area while one of my friends mixed pancake batter. Pancakes provided me with a great opportunity to meet new people and just another way to get involved at UVA.
After Pancakes for Parkinson’s, I rushed back to Gooch-Dillard (my dorm) to change into my pink and prepare for GAMEDAY! My friends and I were decked out in pink and ready to watch the Hoos crush the Demon Deacons.  Unfortunately, we lost the game, but we still enjoyed watching the game from “The Hill” and cheering on the Cavaliers!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

When you have to study, even the ceiling is more interesting

Welcome to midterms season!
I’d show you a picture of my testing schedule for the rest of the semester, but it depresses me too much, so I try to avoid looking at it.

Last week I mentioned the Engineering School’s newly opened Rice Hall was my favorite place to study…This week I've been up til 5 AM three nights in a row, which is not normal, even for semi-nocturnal college students. To put it in perspective: I've spent more time on the 4th floor of Rice Hall than I have in my apartment, awake or asleep.
Now, this blog isn't about whining about how tired I am. Instead of telling the story of how I walked into a construction sign because I was too tired to notice it, I’ll tell you the story of our caravan through grounds trying to find a new space to study.
I detest libraries. Places like Clemons and Alderman always seem so full of misery and stress, because that’s where everyone goes when they really need to get work done.

Plus, these libraries are on the other side of grounds from the Engineering School and all of my classes, so I try to find places to study on E-Way (the sidewalk all engineering classes are on), which are conveniently located near first year dorms, for all of you potential Wahoos out there. Rice is always our favorite place to start, just because none of us can get over the cool features in it…like the projected touch screen computer outside all the server rooms, the pieces of glass functioning as whiteboards, or the temperature sensors on the building that lower blinds when floors get too hot.
But any building gets boring after 8 hours, so by 2 AM we were ready to move. The next best place for us was the Physical and Life Sciences Building (affectionately known as PLSB), which is also pretty new and has ping pong tables in it. (In case you were wondering, you could live in either of those buildings…both have kitchens on every floor, showers somewhere in the building, and super comfy chairs that you could use as beds…totally not saying that from personal experience).
Alternating between those two buildings worked pretty well at night, but during the day we’d try to find places that weren't open at night…like the Special Collections Library, next to Alderman and Clemons, or my personal favorite non-engineering building: Newcomb. The newly renovated student activities building has couches and tables everywhere…so really any place you can find is open for studying, or napping, depending on the time of day.
Studying may not always be the most fun (you can only be so motivated to work if you’re still up when your roommate leaves for ROTC in the morning), but if you can find that one place that no one else has discovered and take it over, well, it gets a little bit better.
If you were wondering, the current official study anthem of the Rice 4th Floor Computer Engineers (picture: 4-20 year old guys and me) can be found here. Enjoy J

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Experiences of a Fourth Year

I am so excited to introduce myself to you guys... my name is Sehar Wahla, I am a fourth year at the University. (fourth year! I'm still not used to saying that!) I am double majoring in Foreign Affairs and Religious Studies, with a minor in Global Culture and Commerce. 

Like most people at UVA, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my school and can't talk enough about it.  My most rewarding activities at UVA have allowed me to do just that. I have been involved with the Admissions Office Program: Virginia Ambassadors since my first year. I've done everything from work with the Office to put on Days on the Lawn (an event for admitted prospective students); give Admissions Information Sessions (I recommend you attend one while you're visiting); blog for you all; and I am currently the Chair of Virginia Ambassadors, which means I get to work with a team of 12 amazing people, and together we coordinate all of these cool outreach programs for prospective students just like you!

Some of the 2012 Days on the Lawn team with CAVMAN!
 UVA has offered me so much these last three years I can't even begin to describe how I feel now that my time is coming to an end. As sappy as this sounds, I've grown as a person, more than I would have ever imagined thinking back to when I was sitting where you are today. Hopefully, through this blog I will be able to share some of my most memorable experiences as a Wahoo: football games, hiking, apple picking, picnics on the lawn, weekend brunches, visiting Monticello, studying in the Rotunda Dome Room, and taking in the scenery of Charlottesville.
The Rotunda on a beautiful Spring afternoon. 
Let me tell you, the next four years are about to be the most impactful and exciting years of your young life. I sincerely hope that this blog will be useful to you all... I remember sitting in your shoes exactly 4 years ago, so I understand how overwhelming the admissions process can be. However, my advice: take it all in, enjoy your senior year of high school, and remember, wherever you end up next year, EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY. With that, however, I am SO excited to share MY UVA with you and hope you will be just as much in love with the school as I am.