As a Classics major, I'm interested in anything Roman and Greek, especially art, architecture, and literature. Currently, I'm also doing breast cancer research at the U.Va. hospital, so that's been a huge focus of mine since last year.
Most surprising thing you've found at U.Va.?
I've been surprised at how accessible and welcoming U.Va. professors and administrators have been. It's really easy to develop personal and meaningful relationships with members of the U.Va. community if you put forth the effort. Just the other day, I had lunch with U.Va.'s Historian, Sandy Gilliam, for an hour and a half, and spoke about a wide variety of topics, including his experiences as an undergraduate and great advice about restaurants in Charlottesville.
Where are your closest U.Va. friends from?
Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, the U.K., and Australia.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, which book would you want to have with you?
I would definitely pick Dante's The Divine Comedy. I probably would also enjoy a good translation of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations or Plato's Republic.
How do you spend your Spring Breaks?
For two of my spring breaks, I have gone down on a mission trip down to Saltadere, Haiti to do work with the poor there. I also have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge in Augusta, Georgia where I spent the week building houses for the homeless.
Where do you go to study for exams?
Usually I spend a lot of time in the Classics Library. Other than that, I spend lots of time in the McGregor Room or Map Room in Alderman. If it's a nice day outside, I also like to go to a shady spot on the Lawn or in the gardens behind the Pavilions.
Did you visit U.Va. before deciding to attend?
I visited U.Va. in the spring of my junior year of high school and immediately fell in love with this place. I was lucky enough to come on an absolutely gorgeous day for Days on the Lawn, a program for accepted students. Walking around Grounds, talking to students, and visiting classes sealed the deal for me, and I accepted my invitation to join the University community the very next day.
Describe your favorite professor.
Professor Hays in the Classics Department. He is very approachable and kind to his students, but also has an unrivaled passion for what he teaches.
What was your favorite class?
Theology, Ethics, and Medicine in the Religious Studies department taught by Professor Childress. Childress is a leader in the field of bioethics, so it was an incredible experience to be learning from one of the most knowledgeable people in the field. The class helps you to decide your own stance on serious ethical issues like abortion and euthanasia.
What activities are you involved in?
The Catholic Student Ministry, 1in4 (a sexual assault peer awareness program), Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and the Men's Leadership Project, a mentoring program between U.Va. students and 5th graders at Charlottesville public schools.
What is your favorite extracurricular and why?
Men's Leadership Project. Besides the ego boost in having a 5th grader think you are the coolest person alive, I've found that it has been the most satisfying and rewarding experience I've had at U. Va. Giving my mentee advice throughout the year about school, girls, and what to expect from college, I've seen him grow a great deal throughout the year.
Have you taken the opportunity to get career advice while a student?
I've utilized the pre-health advising services at U.Va. several times and have found that their services are extremely useful. They've been really helpful in terms of finding out what classes to take, what extracurricular to join, and how to have a strong medical school application. They also help out with essay writing and interview tips.
What are the arts like at U.Va.?
The U.Va. drama department as well as the Shakespeare on the Lawn Club and the First Year Players club often put on plays that they put on throughout the year that are extremely entertaining and well orchestrated. I've also enjoyed Final Fridays at the U.Va. Art Museum, a program that is free of charge to students that allows students to check out the exhibits at the museum while enjoying light refreshments.
What was your first year living situation like?
My suitemates and I hit it off almost immediately through programs that my resident advisor put on at the beginning of the year.
Have you lived on or off grounds each year?
As all first years do, I lived on Grounds in new dorms, but I lived off-Grounds in an apartment and my fraternity house after that. Each experience was fun in its own way. Living on Grounds was great because I was so close to all of my friends and living off Grounds offered me a great deal of independence and self-sufficiency.
What is your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?
There are too many things to choose from, but I would have to say spending time in the outdoors in the outskirts of Charlottesville. If you drive 5 minutes outside of Charlottesville in any direction you are bound to see beautiful countryside. There are a ton of trails to hike just outside of Grounds that can serve as a great study break and campsites that make for a really fun weekend break from school.
What's your favorite restaurant in Charlottesville?
I've always liked Michael's Bistro for a relatively inexpensive steak or the Virginian for a burger or salad.
Is it easy to get to Charlottesville? (especially from out of state)?
As a Maryland resident, I was surprised at how easy it is to get to Charlottesville from out-of-state. Charlottesville is almost in the dead-center of Virginia and accessible via several major highways. Besides that, the Amtrak station and Charlottesville Airport make it very easy to get to from further away. U.Va. Student Council also has a program called Home Ride that can pair you up with someone trying to get to the other major airports in the area in Washington D.C. or Richmond.
Something unique about U.Va. that few people know about?
Final Fridays at the Art Museum are an underrated and untapped resource at U. Va. Each final Friday of the month, the U.Va. Art Museum offers free food and beverages to U.Va. students as well as free admission to see the Art Museum's exhibits. I had no idea about it until a friend who worked there told me about it and have gone to almost every one since.
Is it hard to be a student on a small budget?
I've found that I have to go pretty seriously out of my way to spend more than $25 a week at U. Va. Even if you don't have a meal plan with plus dollars, the Corner area has very cheap places to eat, and prices at most of U.Va.'s places to eat are relatively inexpensive. U.Va. and Charlottesville definitely do a good job of catering to college students in that respect.
Can you have a car at all? Do you need one?
You can have a car after your first year, but I've found that it tends to be more of a hassle than anything. U.Va. and Charlottesville have a great transportation system that's free and makes it really easy to get to anywhere you need to go whether to the downtown mall or a grocery store. Of course it is very doable to have a car, but it is much easier to get around on foot or by bus or bike.
What is the Greek system like?
I've found that Greek life has been the cherry on the cake so to speak of my experience at U.Va. rather than defined my entire experience at U. Va. The recruitment process occurs later, only in the spring semester for first years, so most people find other venues of involvement before that occurs. By no means do you have to be Greek to be cool or fit in at U.Va.
Are you Involved in community service? How?
I volunteer at the Charlottesville Free Clinic as well as the U.Va. Hospital working in patient care. I also participate in the Men's Leadership Project, a big/little brother mentoring program with less privileged. Besides the ego boost in having a 5th grader think you are the coolest person alive, I've found that it has been the most satisfying and rewarding experience I've had at U. Va. Giving him advice throughout the year about school, girls, and what to expect from college, I've seen him grow a great deal throughout the year.