Congratulations on your admission to the University of Virginia!
I remember not too long ago reading those same words on my computer. It was exciting, and I felt a sense of relief, but I still was unsure about so many things. I didn’t know much about Charlottesville, and as an in-state student, I was itching to venture beyond Virginia.
I know a lot of different factors weigh in on where you decide to go to college, but I wouldn’t discount how much your environment changes your college experience. I think a school’s environment and culture are important to take into consideration when choosing a college. So, here are a few non-academic reasons why UVA is awesome!
A Beautiful Campus
This might sound a little arbitrary when deciding which school to attend, but I couldn’t even count how many times the beauty of our campus, or Grounds as we say at UVA, has brightened my mood. When the weather is pleasant, my friends and I like to join the many people (often with their dogs) on the Lawn, playing games, reading, eating, or just talking! When it’s snowing, there are snowball fights to join too. The Lawn and other spots around Grounds play a considerable role in building communities.
Venturing off Grounds on a run is another great way to take advantage of the landscape in Charlottesville. The city is surprisingly hilly, so it can get challenging. Jim Ryan, President of UVA, does weekly runs with students on Tuesday mornings. Last semester, I went on a McIntire run with some of my classmates, and our professors showed up too!
When I was in high school, I didn’t realize how the greater Charlottesville community would shape my experience. It strikes a good balance between feeling small enough to be able to get to know the community and its people, but also large enough to show you something new every day.
A Foodie Town
If you are a foodie like me, Charlottesville is a great place for you! Not only are there places to eat on the Corner, but there are also a ton of great local restaurants scattered throughout the city. Whether it’s Restaurant Week or farmers market season, or you just feel like treating yourself, there are plenty of options from which to choose. Some of my go-to places to eat with friends or when family visits are (this was really hard for me to narrow down because I could make a whole page of good eats in Cville):
Consistent crowd pleaser: Tavola
Seafood: Public Fish & Oyster
Casual sit-down: Lampo
Fast-casual: Ivy Provisions or Brazos Tacos (If you go to Brazos, definitely take a look at IX Art Park for some creative inspiration or fun pictures.)
A Place with Traditions
UVA has great traditions to look forward to throughout the year. Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn, Lighting of the Lawn, Pancakes for Parkinson’s, and Spring Fest are just a few of the University-wide traditions. Besides that, there are a bunch of smaller UVA traditions you and your friends will be able to check off your bucket lists as an undergrad, like painting Beta Bridge!
Off Grounds, some of my favorite activities are apple picking at Carter’s Mountain, going to local vineyards, and hiking Humpback Mountain.
Whether you’re still trying to make a decision or not, I hope this post helped you get excited for the years ahead.