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Sarah Cole

Sarah Cole

Year: 2013
Hometown: Vienna, VA
Major: Cognitive Science

What are your intellectual interests?

Sustainability, the History of UVA


Where are your closest U.Va. friends from?

All over Virginia, Australia, England, DC, Massachusetts, Florida, etc. The list goes on!


If you were stranded on a deserted island, which book would you want to have with you?

Jane Eyre


How do you spend your spring breaks?

For the past two years, I’ve gone home to relax and spend time with my friends and family. A lot of U.Va. students go on Alternative Spring Break trips and I’ve only heard great things, so I’m hoping to go on one during the next two years.


Where do you go to study for exams?

I usually like to be studying with other people, whether we’re silent and working hard, or talking and hardly working. I also like to change it up—Clark, Clemons, and Alderman libraries; Para Coffee, Starbucks, Bodos on the Corner; or Panera, Hot Cakes, Barnes and Noble in Barracks Road Shopping Center. There are so many great places with free wireless and relaxed atmospheres around Grounds.


Did you visit U.Va. before deciding to attend?

Yes, during high school I visited a handful of times to go on tours and to walk around. After getting my acceptance letter, I came to Days on the Lawn for admitted students. I was sitting at lunch during that visit when I made the decision to attend U.Va.!


Why U.Va.?

I chose U.Va. because it was well balanced with everything I wanted. It is academically impressive as well as socially diverse. There’s a tight-knit community around Grounds, and Charlottesville offers so many opportunities for exploration. We have Division I athletics and longstanding traditions. It really is such a unique place.


What was your favorite class?

“American History to 1865” was a great class, primarily because of the professor. Professor Kett was enthusiastic, entertaining, and based our exams on exactly what he had discussed. The outside reading was enlightening, and even though I’m not a history major, it was a very refreshing course.


Have you taken a University Seminar? Which one? Why?

I took “Dying, Death, and Grief” my first semester. I wanted to take a USEM because the small size helps with the transition from high school to college. I absolutely loved it and am still friends with several of the people who were in my seminar.


What activities are you involved in?

I’m a member of the University Guide Service, which is completely student run. I am also the Inter-Sorority Council representative for my sorority, Kappa Delta. I have volunteered through Madison House in the past and participate in philanthropic events whenever I can.


What is your favorite extracurricular and why?

Giving historical and admissions tours through the University Guide Service. I love learning and sharing the history of our school and of our founder, Thomas Jefferson. On admissions tours, I do my best to show prospective students exactly what U.Va. is about so they can make informed decisions when deciding to apply and enroll in college.


Have you taken the opportunity to get career advice while a student?

Yes, I loved my University Career Services experience. I highly recommend going—and the sooner the better!


What are the arts like at U.Va.?

Not as out in the open as they are at other schools, but there are constant opportunities to appreciate the arts around Grounds and in Charlottesville. I personally have loved to attend drama shows, especially the musicals put on each semester by First Year Players.


How would you describe the students who attend U.Va.?

Cool nerds. For the most part, people take the academic work very seriously but we know how to have fun—we get involved, we explore Charlottesville, we enjoy college life.


How is college different from high school?

You’re in control of your life. You pick your classes, you set your study schedule, you get involved as much as you want to. Because of student self-governance at U.Va. your college experience is in your hands, which prepares you for life after college.


What was your first-year living situation like?

I lived in New Dorms in a suite with nine other girls, including my roommate whom I found on Facebook. I loved it because we were all very different and each did our own thing, but were still very supportive and close with each other.


Have you lived on or off Grounds each year?

I lived on-Grounds my first year, which all first years have to do. Second year I lived behind the Corner in an apartment building. This year, I live in my sorority house.


What is your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

Hike and go to concerts! Charlottesville is such a cool city to explore, in every way imaginable.


What’s your favorite restaurant in Charlottesville?

I really love the burgers at Boylan Heights on the Corner because you can custom build them.


What do you do in your free time?

I love to hang out on the Lawn, shop on the Corner, and spend time with friends whom I don’t run into often.


What is the competition in your classes like?

I don’t feel competitive at all in my classes. People are always willing to split up study guides or work together before finals. U.Va. is competitive in the sense that for many majors and some organizations you have to apply, but it’s not cut-throat like at some other schools.


What is something unique about U.Va. that few people know about?

The details of our history—people know that Thomas Jefferson was our founder and where the Lawn is, but not much past that. I’ve loved learning the history and sharing it with my friends and visitors.


How can a student stay active? What sports are popular?

There are so many ways to stay active! Walk to class, run around Grounds and Charlottesville, take advantage of nearby hiking trails, play tennis or beach volleyball or basketball on the outdoor courts, play Frisbee on the Lawn, or go to one of our three big gyms. You can also get involved with varsity, club, or intramural sports. All of those activities are popular!


Is it hard to be a student on a small budget?

Not at all—most of us are on small budgets! Meal plans provide so much food, renting movies from Clemons is free, going to the gym is free, you can rent textbooks and find a lot of used books, etc.


Can you have a car at all? Do you need one?

First Years cannot have a car and definitely don’t need one. We have a great bus system, and Grounds are also compact enough where I have walked to class 90% of the time. I had a car my second semester, second year, but only used it occasionally go get groceries and to get home for breaks. There aren’t a ton of places to park, either, so in some ways having a car can be a hassle.


What is the Greek system like?

Rush is deferred to the Spring semester, which allows first years who are interested in the Greek community to acclimate to college life. Many members of the Greek community were first members of other clubs or organizations. This helps the Greek community be very united and intertwined with the University as a whole.


Are you involved in community service? How?

I’ve done community service through Madison House, my sorority, and the University Guide Service. Most organizations and clubs involve a touch of community service.