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Heather

Heather Berg

Year: 2015
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Major: Leadership and Public Policy

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found at U.Va.?

How small it feels! I never expected to come to such a relatively large university and to see so many familiar faces each and every day. It’s impossible to walk around Grounds without running into someone I know, and I absolutely love that.


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

I bought my high school English teacher a volume of all Jane Austen’s novels. I’d probably choose that so I wouldn’t have to pick just one book!


How do you spend your spring breaks?

This past spring break, I participated in Alternative Spring Break’s Charlottesville trip. I got to spend the week volunteering right in Charlottesville, none of which was spent on Grounds at U.Va. It was a really awesome opportunity to really understand some of the social issues that are going on right in my backyard, and was probably one of the most eye-opening weeks of my life.


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

I actually did not visit! My scholarship bound me to UVA before I even knew anything about it, and I couldn’t imagine a more fortunate twist of fate. I’m extremely grateful and glad that things worked out the way they did. I did visit for Days on the Lawn, though, knowing I would attend, and had an absolutely amazing experience!


Why U.Va.?

I visited UVA for Days on the Lawn knowing I would attend, but terrified about how I would fit it in here. I flew up without my parents, and was waiting on the steps of Peabody Hall just trying to absorb it all. A random U.Va. student walked right up to me and just started chatting, and was just so welcoming and warm. He was saying hello to every student that passed by name, and it really eased my nerves. It showed me that I wouldn’t be just another face in the crowd, and that I’d truly find my niche here. Coming here has been the best choice I’ve ever made, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the history of U.Va.. It’s a really incredible place with a really warm atmosphere. Overall, I don’t view U.Va. as just my school; I honestly do view it as my home.


Describe your favorite professor.

Second semester of my first year I took a class called “Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe”. Previously, I had no interest in astronomy; but the professor, Kelsey Johnson, was hands down one of the best I’ve ever had. She made the material so engaging for us, and even in a class of 150 learned all of our names. She was extremely interactive, and really made a class that I had no previous interest in a ton of fun. It was just a great experience overall.


What was your favorite class?

I’ve always loved English, and I had the chance to take an English course titled “US Literature & Culture Post-9/11”. It was awesome to examine literature and films through a political and sociological lens, and was really conducive to bridging together many of my different interests.


What activities are you involved in?

I’m a First Year Judge on the University Judiciary Council, I plan events with University Programs Council, and I do a lot of outreaching and support with Quest Scholars of U.Va. I also volunteer weekly through Madison House.


What is your favorite extracurricular and why?

Being on UJC has definitely been my most rewarding experience of this past year. It’s introduced me to some of my best friends, really gotten me involved with student self-governance, and overall has been a very rewarding experience.


What is the competition in your classes like?

I don’t think it’s too bad. I’ve formed study groups multiple times, shared notes with friends when one of us was absent--I think most of the competition here, at least for me, comes from internally. I feel competitive with myself, but for the most part I think students here generally just try to help each other excel.


Are you involved in community service?

I’ve volunteered at a few different places, but the most meaningful has been the homeless shelter. I participated in Alternative Spring Break my First Year, and it was one of the most eye opening weeks of my life. I’ve continued going back on my own, and every time I do, I seem to learn something new.


What are the arts like at U.Va.?

I’ve had a really great experience with the arts at U.Va. I’ve had the chance to go to a few a cappella concerts, which are always a blast, as well as some student-run theatre performances, which never ceased to impress.


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

Extremely passionate and driven! The students here genuinely just seem to love everything they do, from their clubs to their courses to our school itself. There’s such a great sense of spirit about this place, because students do tend to be very enthusiastic about all their endeavors.


What was your first-year housing situation like?

I actually lived in a residential college my first year, so I had a bit of a different experience. I had one roommate, and we respected each other’s space. It was a big adjustment for me having a roommate, but was definitely something I see as a learning experience.


What is your favorite memory from your time at Virginia?

As a natural born Floridian, I’d never seen snow before and it was a long time coming. My friends all met up with me to share in the experience and Grounds were just so beautiful! From sledding down Nameless Field to building my first snowman, to a 200 person snowball fight on the lawn, it was one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had here!


What is your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

I love just taking a stroll on the Downtown Mall. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore, and I seem to always find something new every time I go.


What’s your favorite restaurant in Charlottesville?

Bodo’s Bagels is an absolute must for breakfast or lunch, I love Lemongrass for dinner, and you can never go wrong with some Sweetfrog’s for dessert!


What is the competition in your classes like?

I don’t think it’s too bad. I’ve formed study groups multiple times, shared notes with friends when one of us was absent--I think most of the competition here, at least for me, comes from internally. I feel competitive with myself, but for the most part I think students here generally just try to help each other excel.


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

The gyms on Grounds are stocked with every piece of equipment you could dream of, and they’re completely free! I always love going for a run on a nice day to clear my mind, and although I’m not the most athletic, you can find almost any intramural sport here. Friends of mine have gotten into flag football, tennis, soccer, and ultimate frisbee.