When I first set foot on Grounds, I was captivated by the gleaming neo-classical architecture, but the students impressed me most. Coming from a small high school, I wondered if the University of Virginia might feel like a city. As I wandered around admiring my surroundings, a stranger asked me if I needed help finding anything. She gave me directions and happily spoke about why she loves U.Va. so much. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of the closely-knit community that makes U.Va. thrive. I immediately felt at home.
Through my experiences helping first-years adjust to a more independent lifestyle as a Resident Advisor, mixing batter at Pancakes for Parkinson’s, and representing U.Va. while abroad on Alternative Spring Break, I have seen that this community is both exceptional and far-reaching. It is an honor to attend a school where faculty members are so deeply invested in their students that they get to know us both in and outside of the classroom. I feel especially lucky that my College professors invite students to their homes and to dinner to discuss their work, and that they take the time to get to know us on a personal level. This level of dedication and guidance is rare.
I often feel I learn as much from my peers as I do from my professors. By discussing Political Theory late at night, performing traditional dances with the Arab Student Organization, and spending sunny afternoons on the Lawn with friends, I have gained a richer outlook on our diverse world. Emphasis on student self-governance allows students to gain valuable skills and helps individuals come together to form productive teams. I have loved every moment here. Even though I will only spend four years on Grounds, I will forever be a Wahoo.
—Henry, Class of 2016. Philosophy and Arabic