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Symphony of memories

U.VA. IS replete with sensory experiences: the sight of red brick, white marble, and green magnolia trees; the taste of a Bodo's bagel or the Louisiana shortstack at Southern Culture; the smell of the stuff they put on the grass so that it will grow in time for graduation. However, my best memories of U.Va. are associated with the sounds -- specifically, the music that was playing during my favorite moments here.

First year is a time to do embarrassing, foolish things so that you'll know what to avoid doing later. It is essential to share these "learning experiences" with friends, so that, later, you can all look back and laugh. I was lucky to have a suite full of girlfriends with whom I could share crushes on the VGs, dancing like spastic club-kids to "The Firestarter," and singing along to the Spice Girls. I'll also remember Natalie's techno song of the month club (membership: one.)

But first year also included more "cool" musical moments, like listening to Whitney's expert mix tapes while driving to Lynchburg, or playing our own "Suite Mix" at our beach house, the Shalimar. Our eclectic tape included Rage Against the Machine and the Charlie Daniels band ... back-to-back. After first year, as the Verve Pipe played their hit "The Freshmen" at the HFStival, Dave yelled, "We are the freshmen!" repeatedly. But we weren't anymore.

My first song memory of second year: "Like a Rolling Stone" was playing on Halloween night at the ATO house, and I was thrilled to realize that everyone I was with could sing along word for word. It seems as though, that year, "Sugar Magnolia" was always playing at the house in the morning, before football games, and Weezer was always on during parties.

I stayed here the summer after second year. Summer in Charlottesville is wonderful, but I learned a valuable lesson: If your housemates have long hair, invite random folks off the street in for a beer, and are obsessed with Hunter S. Thompson, they are modern-day hippies and probably have a lot of The Band albums that you can borrow.

That's good. However, in the future, sublet from someone you know.

Third year, Stephanie performed a lot, and we were amazed at her cool, original, compositions. In addition to

her shows, there were many other great concerts. I saw Liz Phair's first tour in years, and Greg and I witnessed an incredible Afghan Whigs show. On my 21st birthday, after some hours of Corner crawling, I took the stage at the Greenskeeper and sang "Polyester Bride," backed by Stephanie and the members of Johnny and the Moondogs. I think it was the happiest moment of my life, and I swear that I remember it.

The Moondogs' name and lineup was ever-changing, but always, they covered the best Rolling Stones songs and Dan played that cool part at the end of "Sultans of Swing."

I'll have fond memories of seeing them play, and they did so regularly this year, my fourth.

The highlight of fourth year was New Year's Eve.

When the DJ at J. Paul's played "It's the end of the world as we know it" at midnight, we were all a little freaked out. But the world survived the turn of the millenium, and we expressed our relief by singing the Good Old Song all the way across the Key Bridge.

The music I heard at U.Va. is inextricably linked to the people who made the last four years wonderful. I appreciate them. Thanks to my "sisters" Claire Moir, Sarah Harris, Stephanie Merhar, Natalie Shioji, Lauren Hunter, and Allison Fletcher. I won't reveal here that these fun, talented and sexy girls are also Echols Scholars, because the world would be too jealous.

Thanks to The Cavalier Daily "Focus Girls" and "News Mafia" for giving me the opportunity to write (especially to Nicola White and Amy Shapiro, who made it fun).

Thanks to Gaby Kornely, Chriss Goldschmidt, Liat Wexler and Michelle Vignoli: At some point in the far future you four need to decide on your mutual favorite color.

To my roommates Sarah Guyton and Meg Scheu, I'm glad we lived together. We had a lot of fun, perhaps too often captured on film.

Two professors, Dr. Mary Kate Worden and Dr. Steven Rhoads, provided me with invaluable opportunities beyond the classroom. As a woman excelling in the sciences, Dr. Worden served as a mentor and model for me, and I enjoyed learning about public policy from Dr. Rhoads.

To Luther Pilkinton, I hope that you know how much I admire and look up to you.

Thanks especially to my Mom and Dad who are my heroes, and my brothers, who can make me laugh like no one else can. I love you.

(Claire Edwards is a former associate News editor and associate Focus editor.)


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