- Class: Junior
- Major: English
- Gender: M
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
Its the best education around. That's why I'm there and that's why I love it. The classes are large, but some of my best have been broad lectures (such as macroeconomics, and western art history), and with just a little work it is so easy to get into small discussions. The school is also not just about thought, but activity. Despite its great books and intellectuals, UVA is nothing without the productive energy that buzzes around grounds, and while there you are not just expanding your mind, but simultaneously preparing yourself for a lifetime of productive work, responsiblity, and well rounded fulfilment. The administration is large and confusing, and the expectation is that you will be responsible for yourself, and will take care of yourself. However this is a wonderfully valuable and needed lesson in maturity, and at any time, when needed many of the staff are very friendly and always willing to help. There is a ton of school pride. How can there not be - its UVA. Oh, and about tradition: as you know, the school was envisioned and founded by Thomas Jefferson, and his legacy so lives on that somtimes as I pass through the colonial architecture amongst people chatting about the most exciting advancements of the day, I can feel the revolutionary spirit of the founding fathers, and know their dreams have become reality. With statues ranging from Homer to George Washinton, its nice to feel like you're truly a part of the big picture - still the tradition keeps it personal, with rituals and celebrations for individual achievement and recognition.
I love my professors. Most get to know you, not just your name but also your personal interests and goals, as long as you make the effort to reach out and meet them. My favorite class was an English seminar my first semester. The teacher was enthusiastic, encouraging, and so personally invested in the material AND the students reading it, that I unquestionably declared my major, and her as my mentor. As I do with many of my professors we still keep in touch and get together for lunch/coffee periodically. Studying varies between students. A few are geniuses who don't need to study and still ace all their classes. However, for the majority the work is hard, but everyone is talented, so you get out what you put in. I would say it's split: half the students study very hard and do very well, and the other half don't study as much, and do okay. Either way, every student cares a lot about his/her work, and it is always a very studious atmosphere.
I'm repeating what I wrote about stereotypes here. I just returned last night from studying abroad, and I'm jet lagged. Coming from a small suburban school in New York, aside from that it is a tremendous acadmeic University, Virginia's reputation is not well known around here. But with a little research you quickly discover that UVA is notorious for being a traditional southern school. With "guys in ties, girls in pearls", most of the campus is crawling with well bred upper class white preps, sporting sunglasses and flip flops. Along with all of this comes a certain air of elitism. While the preppy stereotype annually reasserts itself, there are major amendments: -First, though some of the students at times prance around as elitists, this is not wholly inappropriate. Many were raised in beautiful, rich neighborhoods, and were bred into a nearly aristocratic lifestyle. Consequently, they were sent to some of the best magnet/gifted schools in the world, and thus enjoy the benefits of the highest education possible. Thus, though still partying American kids of the 21st century, these individuals are brilliant, charming, articulate, driven, and will no doubt be the next world leaders. -Second, such attitude is by no measure universal. As an enormous, dynamic institution, many of the students find a variety of crowds. There is a ton of cultural diversity, with probably 45 percent of the student body representing a convergence of Asian-, African-, Indian- and Latin Americans, as well as students from all over the United States, not to mention International visitors. Additionally, so many of us do not fulfill the traditional southern mold. While we may be affected into dressing more stylish, many are not involved with "preppy" activities (get dressed up and celebrate luxury with drinks), but support instead the "orange fever" movement, made up of a more quirky, creative, and individualistic crowd. Those of us that are more unusual also tend to be more economically diverse, many taking advantage of the ACCESS UVA financial aid program.
The Best Things
The pursuit of knowledge leads to the pursuit of happiness. UVA places both as life's priorities.
The Worst Things
You're left to find your own way - but so it is with life.