Top 10 weirdest things about U.Va.

Who knows what’s going on at this place

1. The Poe obsession

The University community is consumed by a burning curiosity and love for Edgar Allan Poe. In case you didn’t know, he attended the University for a little less than a year but had to drop out after his stepfather refused to pay his massive gambling debts. Now, he is commemorated by The Raven Society, and his Range room is forever sealed off by a pane of glass and period-appropriate furniture. Going to the University for a year is not a super big feat, but we have Poe T-shirts, bags and journals — oh my! I doubt that I would get quite as much recognition if I dropped out. 

2. The lingo

If you show up to the University and use the words “campus,” “freshman” or “quad,” chances are you will get quite a few looks ranging from curious to outraged. How dare you step foot on these sacred Grounds and not educate yourself to our special vocabulary? Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave. I’m honestly surprised there isn’t a group that comes and escorts someone out of Hooville anytime they misuse a word. Can you believe people think we’re snobby?

3. Clubs

The competition to be in clubs is actually insane. It is so hard to get into big-name clubs like U-Guides, University Judiciary Committee and Honor. You basically have to have a resumé for clubs that you want on your real resumé. Acrobatics Club? We got it. Club Dodgeball? You bet. High Powered Rocketry Club? What college doesn’t have that? We have such a wide range of Contracted Independent Organizations that I don’t know how the University funds so many of them. Maybe that’s why my parking pass is so expensive...

4. Going out

Going out is such a big thing at the University that some people literally go out four nights a week. That is four days out of seven. That’s more than half of all the days in a week! I can’t even imagine how tired those people must be. Even if I’m completely sober and stay up really late I almost need a day and a half to recuperate. How do you cope? Are you constantly drunk? Do you even get hangovers anymore? What’s your record number of trash cans in one night? If you can answer any of these questions, please let me know, and then maybe take some time to reevaluate some of your choices. 

5. Secret societies

Where else can you find a school where students wake up at dawn, drink mimosas and watch guys in purple robes place a wreath on their founder’s statue? Or paint their emblems on every school building, stairs and frat house in sight? Or only donate money in sevens? If I described the practices of secret societies to anyone unfamiliar with the University, they would honestly think we are all part of a cult. Outsiders probably think we each get a purple robe when they send us our acceptance letters. Unfortunately, we don’t. 

6. A cappella 

If you think about it, our school is like “Glee” on crack. There are so many a cappella groups that the lead-up to the light show during Lighting of the Lawn takes two whole hours. We have an entire event called Rotunda Sing. How did we end up with singing as our obsession? Can you imagine if it was something else? What if our school-wide obsession was the game Clue or playing the recorder? That’s honestly the kind of school I want to attend. 

7. The architecture

Everywhere I go I am surrounded by endless red bricks and columns. Do you think Big Brick made some sort of deal with the University in order to brainwash us into thinking that red brick is the best building material ever so we’ll all build our houses out of it? With the abundance of it, I seem to think so. And while the outside of our buildings are beautiful — albeit redundant — sometimes the interior needs some work. For example, let’s take Chem 402 with its lovely wood-paneled walls, concrete floors and chalkboards. If someone woke up from a coma in the ‘70s and went straight to class in that room, they probably wouldn’t notice a difference. Why haven’t we upgraded? Where is all my parking pass money going?

8. Girls in pearls, guys in ties

I suppose this tradition makes a little bit of sense because our football team has been so bad for so long, so if we can’t beat ‘em, we might as well show them how fancy we are. At the same time, who wants to go sweat in our nicest clothes just to appear fancy for a couple hours and watch our team lose? Seems like double torture to me. Maybe that’s why I only end up going to one football game a semester. 

9. Student self-governance

I don’t know how many other colleges and universities have student self-governance, but the University will literally never let us forget that we have it. The fact is pretty much shoved down our throats at all times. It’s pretty cool because we get to be judges, juries and executioners to our fellow students who choose to break the Honor Code, but at the same time, what actually amounts from all those emails that Student Council sends us, besides a cluttered inbox? Student self-governance can also get a little out of hand, as seen with last year’s Student Council presidential election. So this is just a reminder that it’s actually not that deep. 

10. Thomas Jefferson

Heaven forbid that we forget who founded our school. Thomas Jefferson is at the forefront of every student’s mind, whether you love him or hate him. I would like to know if other schools celebrate their founders as much as we do because over here, I think we would raise him from the dead if we could. We basically tried to do that by having a TJ impersonator – who was great, may I add – at the Bicentennial Celebration

related stories