Before I began my time as a student here, I remember coming to visit for Days on the Lawn weekend. I stood on the steps of the Office of Admissions with no idea where to go, until a current student came up and start chatting with me. As we made small talk, I mentioned how excited I was to begin my freshman year here. That was a mistake. The student, still a good friend of mine, was quick to remind me that I would not be a “freshman”; I would be a “first year”. I was not on our “campus”; I was on our “Grounds”. Why did all this matter? I asked myself. Did it really make a difference whether I referred to myself as a “freshman” or as a “first year”? Well turns out, there’s quite a bit of historical context that plays into UVA’s lingo. Thomas Jefferson was a big believer in lifelong education. He did not feel education could be confined to just the four years spent at his University. No one could be “fresh” at anything; no one could be a “senior” at anything. Rather, all of us were on a lifelong process of continuing our education beyond just UVA.
|UVA Students walk the Lawn at this year's Final Exercises.|
Photo Credit: Brett Balasa
From the beginning to the end of our time here at UVA--starting with Convocation and ending with final exercises and every day in between--we live out legacies that have been passed down from generation to generation. I love knowing that Jefferson’s vision for his “Academical Village” still carries through to today, and every tradition we have just makes our experience that much more unforgettable. I’ll never quite be ready for those Final Exercises, when I need to walk away from the University that I love so much, but all the more reason for me to enjoy every second of my time here! Wahoowa!