So here I am in New York. The semester is over, which means I am no longer a UVa student. I really cannot believe it. I’ve been so busy recently that none of it has sunk in, and since I didn’t really know what my summer plans are, the end of my semester felt very indefinite and stressful and strange. In spite of this I have had a wonderful time recently with some wonderful people, like during beach week and graduation weekend. My whole time at UVa been indescribably wonderful and so much of me wishes I could stay another year. While I’m in a reflective mood, might as well make a list:
THINGS I’LL MISS MOST ABOUT UVA AND CHARLOTTESVILLE
- Grounds. The brick buildings with the white pillars, the beautiful gardens, the lawn and the Rotunda, the Amphitheatre, tree-lined Rugby Road with all the frat houses, the Chapel, and lots more. I really doubt you could attend university in a more perfect and beautiful setting.
- Student fashion. I love how often people dress really nicely – lots of boys in button-down shirts and girls in sundresses – but also how it is totally normal and acceptable to wear running shorts, a t-shirt and trainers all day. As I have started to do. And I’m going to miss it when I’m back where that is not really fashionably acceptable.
- Downtown Charlottesville. Such a lovely place to wander around, with lots to do and so pretty and charming. On a sunny Friday evening there are street performers and free concerts and tons of families wandering about and it really is the most idyllic place.
- Wandering around the Corner, getting lunch, browsing UVa apparel, going out to bars… particularly Thursday nights out!
- The slightly nicer bars, St Maartens and Michael’s, where you can actually talk, where the drama kids go after shows, and where you can get cider.
- All the places to eat. I could write about the food here for pages. Bodo’s bagels. Take It Away sandwiches. The dumpling cart. The burgers and BBQ at all the bars. Panera (soups, salads and sandwiches, possibly my favourite eating place in the world). Burritos at the Pav. Cook Out milkshakes. Unending deliciousness all around you, all the time.
- The libraries. I mainly frequented Clemons, Alderman and the Music Library, each of which have their own personality and types of study place to choose from. Sometimes I would hang out in the bustling café by the entrance to Alderman; sometimes I would get a cubicle on the silent floor of Clemons; sometimes I would curl up in an armchair in a hidden-away nook of the Music Library. So many options, depending on your mood.
- Professors who are not only experts in their field but great teachers and, even more, really want to get to know you, love interacting with their students and really care about them.
- House parties.
- Having Barracks Shopping Center, with its two huge supermarkets, lots of shops and restaurants and an Old Navy (big cheapish clothes shop, so very useful) five minutes walk away.
- Getting dumplings from the dumpling cart (best ever) and eating them in the sun in the Amphitheatre.
- The chalkings everywhere on the ground, advertising events and meetings, or just saying nice things.
- All the traditions and names for thing that are unique to UVa… streaking the lawn, painting Beta Bridge, the Honor Code (see previous post!), “Grounds”, going to Foxfield (horse races), living on the Lawn, singing the Good Old Song at every opportunity, and lots more.
- The FYP collective, the email listserve that everyone in the organisation uses and which I get about 30 emails a day from. People asking for rides, sharing funny YouTube videos, sending out a ‘no backspace’ email when drunk, sending out ‘Hoo’s Up’ emails in the early hours of the morning when people are still up studying, plus actual society business!
- Hanging out with a group of people in my friend Mia’s room on the Lawn with a view of the Rotunda, drinking wine and cider and discussing life and art and our futures and the world’s problems.
- The Drama Department. Such a homey, friendly place. I’ll miss lazing around on the sofas in the lobby, playing board games in the Green Room, knowing almost everyone you bump into and watching the construction of a brand new theatre through the windows.
- Walking around Grounds on a beautiful day, feeling proud to be a UVa student, happy to be in such a lovely place, and just very, very lucky.