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Why I am excited for fall

I am never one of those people who gets excited for fall. Ever since I was little, one season is the only season for me and that season is summer. But after the first week of classes when I showed up to class dripping in sweat – my condolences to those of you in dorms without air conditioning – I found myself admitting that I am ready for fall. The gorgeous weather the past few days only solidified my excitement for the upcoming change of seasons as it means I can finally bring out my beloved riding boots, blazers, and cardigans. For those of you who don’t get as excited about your fall wardrobe, I am sure you can celebrate the start of football season.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “Life starts all over again when it is crisp in the fall.” This past weekend at the U.Va. versus Penn State football game, I understood what he meant completely. Not only did it feel a little bit more like fall than the previous week when we were playing Richmond, I realized the last time I had stood on the hill was as a 3rd year. I thought about how much my life has changed in the past year and realized I was unhappy with the way some of it has stayed the same. The fall is not only the start of a new football season, but it is the start of a new school year. We’re still not sure how this year is going to go, who our core friend groups might be in May, and what our GPAs will look like. Even though spring is often thought of as the season of rebirth, for students fall really is the time when life starts anew.

Fall is also arguably the best season to be living in Charlottesville. In the spring you have to say goodbye to your friends for the summer and by the time the weather is enjoyable, you find yourself in the depths of Clemons studying for final exams. In the winter, it gets too cold too quickly and you realize the walk from your apartment on Wertland to the Lawn is a lot longer than you remembered it to be. Fall in Charlottesville means you have great (free) plans on home game Saturdays. You aren’t too weighed down by all the work you’ll have later in the semester. On weekends when there aren’t football games, you can go to the Farmers’ Market on the Downtown Mall or wine tasting nearby. You can head up to Carter’s Mountain to pick some apples, and come home with apple pie instead. And you can even remind yourself there is life outside the U.Va. bubble without even leaving Grounds by going to admire all the cute kids that come to trick-or-treat on the Lawn.

So maybe I have been wrong about fall all along. Or maybe now that I will be getting off the gravy train in May and all of my true summers have now long since passed, summer does not have the same carefree appeal it once did. Regardless, I am counting down the days until fall and for the first time, am not sad to see summer go.


My Charlottesville weekend

I came back to Grounds this fall with a sense of urgency- this is my last year in Charlottesville, so I want to make every moment and experience count. I no longer can rely on the excuse, “I’ll do it next year.” Despite missing my last Rotunda Sing because I had to go to work, earlier in the evening I stopped by the 4th year class dinner to pick up my “113 Things To Do Before We Graduate” poster. When I came home and meticulously checked off all the things I had done in my past three years here, I realized I needed to step up my game to complete the 61 things I have left to do before that dreaded day in May rolls around.

Over the past three years, I have spent most of my weekends socializing Friday and Saturday, and recovering and doing homework on Sunday. I think this is pretty typical of most college students and after attending class, organizing meetings, and doing homework during the week, everyone deserves a few days off. But in line with my 4th year goal of making every experience count, my roommate Lauren and I decided this past weekend wouldn’t be just a normal weekend of bar hopping and Bodos runs. We decided to explore Charlottesville as a cultural town and as a community – and cross a few things off our “113 Things To Do Before We Graduate” lists.

Our Friday night began much earlier than usual. Lauren and I left our apartment in nice clothes and headed over to the U.Va. Art Museum, The Fralin, for Final Fridays, which is a reception held at the museum to look at art while listening to music, chatting with friends, and enjoying the massive quantities of delicious finger foods. For the 21 crowd like Lauren and me, you also get one free drink with admission. While walking around the lobby trying to decide what cheese was the best kind, we ran into some of our good friends and even our roommate, Sheila.

While we were talking, a loud drum interrupted us and the next thing we knew, two large Chinese dragons were walking out into the middle of the lobby. Everyone in attendance was invited outside where we saw a traditional Chinese acrobatic exhibition featuring these drums and dragons. This was definitely a much more culturally enriching Friday evening than the one I could have been having, which would have included a Lean Cuisine and reruns of How I Met Your Mother.

Once the performance ended, we decided to say goodbye to our friends and the bastion of free food and headed to the Downtown Mall for Fridays After Five, a Charlottesville tradition for 25 years where every Friday throughout the summer a band plays in the nTelos Wireless Pavilion and families and friends come out to enjoy the music and each other. Lauren and I found some seats in the shade and sat down a people watched for an hour. When you’re in the U.Va. bubble, it’s hard to remember families and little kids live in Charlottesville, too. We were so entertained watching little kids run around with face paint and balloon creatures, and were even more entertained by some of their parents. The band that played wasn’t extremely memorable, but they played songs everyone – including us – could sing along to such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”

For dinner, instead of reheating the aforementioned Lean Cuisines, we took a nice stroll down the Downtown Mall to our favorite local eatery – Eppie’s. As we took a reprieve from the scorching heat outside, we became even more excited for fall than we already were because of the amazing pumpkin bread than came as a side to our meals.

After dinner, we walked back to the nTelos Wireless Pavilion for Paint the Town Orange, the annual pep rally for the Charlottesville community where the marching band, cheerleaders, the football starters, and head coach Mike London make an appearance to get the town excited for the first home game of the season. I had never even heard of the event before, but my roommate, Molly, is on drumline for the marching band, so Lauren and I went out to support her. Not knowing quite what to expect, we had an absolute blast cheering on the Hoos with the town and admiring all the cute kids wearing U.Va. apparel. Paint the Town Orange was a nice reminder that even though when I think of a U.Va. fan, I think of someone my age, Wahoo fans can be found across all ages. The shared belief in our team can transcend many of our differences – even if just for four quarters.

Before the game on Saturday, Lauren and I decided to do one last thing we’ve always said we would do, but never got around to- we finally went to the Charlottesville Farmer’s Market. Even though it was raining, we didn’t let that stop us from taking advantage of the free sample parade and even came home with some fresh produce and bread.

In one weekend, I crossed three things of my “113 Things To Do Before We Graduate” list and explored more of Charlottesville than I have any other weekend in my time here. Now I have a much greater appreciation for what people mean when they say Charlottesville is a great college town – because now it means so much more to me than just college.











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