UNIVERSITY students often seem to rush through their days, living in constant anticipation of the next hurdle, the next major event. Though we may work hard in the anticipation of playing hard later, the small pleasures of University life get swept to the side. Perhaps it's a product of tell-tale fourth-year nostalgia; perhaps a result of the recent beautiful weather. Whatever the cause, I feel the need to ruminate on the autumnal experiences any self-respecting Wahoo must have before leaving the University.
Apple Picking: Strap on those overalls (Don't worry - I'm sure Abercrombie sells them) and head out for an afternoon in the orchard. If you're like me, you have vague memories of childhood apple-picking ventures that often ended with mom and dad buying cider and cookies for the kids.
You'll have to fork over the dough yourself this time around, but the product of an afternoon's efforts provides the supplies necessary to prevent nutritional deficiencies brought on by incessant ARAmark and Corner eating. Check out the Moormont Orchard this Saturday morning with the Make A Difference Day folks. They'll be picking apples to donate to local charities, but you can purchase some for yourself after doing your civic duty.
Lawn Picnicking: Always a favorite during any season lacking massive amounts of frozen precipitation, the Lawn picnic is an absolute must. In fact, it should be repeated as often as possible with creative variations. littlejohn's on the Rotunda steps, a University stand-by, affords good food and a great view, especially now as the leaves are changing. The traditional mid-Lawn picnic-with-blanket option also provides a good time, allowing a post-picnic nap, if desired. The more intimate atmosphere of the gardens proves equally enticing, especially with wine or champagne.
Humpback Rock Climbing: A mainstay for even the most tentative of outdoorswomen and men, Humpback Rock offers a beautiful yet accessible hike for almost anyone. The view from the top makes the not-so-long uphill trek worthwhile and provides an ideal backdrop for fun snapshots. Though Humpback may seem the trendy place to hike, especially for "social" climbers, it also offers several trails to occupy more experienced climbers.
Wine Tasting: Yes, you must show proof of legal age to gain admission to all local wineries, but what fun would your fourth year be without a few exclusive perks? Barboursville, Jefferson and Oakencroft Vineyards provide local options, and for a nominal fee, you can taste their fine products to your heart's content.
Though perhaps another attempt by University students to appear cultured and mature beyond their years, cultivating a taste for wine comes with fringe benefits. You'll be the life of the dinner party when you can spout your newfound knowledge. Career-minded types should consider the brownie points they'll gain when they can pick a wine to compliment the meal at those oh-so-important corporate dinners.
Ultimate Frisbee: The Frisbee seems to be every college student's sports implement of choice. Though some toss the disc for pure enjoyment, others engage in heated competition. Tackling, heckling and bragging rights often play a role in this particular brand of fun. Frisbee golf, another oft-observed pastime, involves more precision and skill than other modes of play, but still provides hours of enjoyment for the quick of wrist and strong of heart.
The Lawn Halloween Extravaganza: Who knew so many kids lived in Charlottesville? It may seem they're busing children in from across the state, but really it's just all the local kiddies who know they can find a steady stream of candy flowing from the Pavilions and Lawn rooms.
If you feel awkward going door-to-door with costumed children half your age, just come to watch them scamper around. A guaranteed way to bring back childhood memories, this annual tradition is not one to be missed.
Skyline Driving: This aesthetically pleasing spot lies an easy 10-mile drive down Rt. 64 and provides all the ambiance you need to appreciate Virginia's changing foliage. Not a trip to make in a hurry, the drive provides ample photo opportunities and breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains.
This outing, though enjoyable with a friend or significant other, also can clear the head and soothe the effects of a not-so-stellar day when made alone.
As October slips by, so do our chances to take advantage of such autumn opportunities. Don't enter your fourth year with a two-page list of things you must do before leaving the University. Take time out from the insanity of everyday life to start working on the list now. Perhaps by graduation it will be complete.
(Amy Startt's column appears Wednesdays in The Cavalier Daily.)