The Cavalier Daily
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Read my lips: No reading during this holiday

The great Thomas Wolfe once said, "You can never go home again." He obviously didn't have reading days at the college he attended. The beauty of the reading holiday is that you can go home again, and despite what the name implies, you will do very little reading.

Though it seems like such a short break from the hustle and bustle of University life, one can accomplish a great deal in five days. For instance, take a quick scan of your 9 a.m. class on your first day back, and you will see that every girl in there managed to come back blonder.

Not only are we a blonder University this week, but we are well-dressed, too. Nearly everyone you talk to about reading days will mention they "went shopping with Mom." With the impending doom of colder weather lingering in the forecasts, it is essential to schedule shopping time into Fall Break. There are, after all, some instances when Jcrew.com just won't cut it.

For every student living in University housing, the true allure of the reading holiday is simple: showering at home does not require shoes. There is something to be said for climbing into your own bathtub without industrial strength sandals to protect your feet from 97 varieties of athlete's foot.

Also, you do not have to worry that the person showering before you has some horrible disease that causes half of her hair to fall out while bathing and clog the drain. Sometimes, this clogging is so bad in the dorm bathrooms that you look down at your ankles mid-shower and see what resembles the Living Seas exhibit at Sea World. The drain still will clog upon your return, but now the perpetrating hair will be much lighter.

As mentioned before, the irony of fall reading days is that they include very little reading. Notice I did not say "no reading," because that would be grossly inaccurate. After all, you did read the menu cover-to-cover at your favorite restaurant and skimmed all the sale advertisements in your local paper. You may even have read the TV Guide to see what was on HBO or the Disney Channel (admit it) this weekend.

One thing you may not have done is spend some time with your high school friends at home. Every first-year college student knows the high schoolers have placed bets on who has gained the most weight at school. You know this because you had the winning bet on Cindy Smith two years ago when she put on 25 pounds before the leaves even changed color for fall. You may find yourself as the winning bet this year, so it's best to stay clear of your alma mater.

No matter where you go around town when you're home, you notice that college has not made you particularly cooler. Despite all our talk of fraternity parties and the wonders of Rugby, my best friend and I found ourselves in a booth at Friendly's Saturday night, discussing whose Blizzard contained more Reese's peanut butter cups. When we walked in the door, the man behind the counter politely asked, "How are you girls doing?" I leaned over to my friend and said, "Well, let's see, we're at Friendly's at 10:30 on a Saturday night. How does he think we're doing?"

It's nice to know you still have a place at your favorite ice cream shop, because chances are your younger siblings have done their best to obliterate your existence from the house. Not one of my CDs remained in the 6-disc changer in the car. The Nintendo-64 has decidedly taken over our den, and I couldn't find my favorite videos to save my life. The classic fights for the television returned in full force, and I'm curious as to what will happen when I come home in December and my little brother is driving. And driving my car, no less.

Still, as my plane touched down at the Charlottesville airport last night, it felt good to be back. Five days without Instant Messenger is an eternity. But it's time to shut off the computer for now, and get to all the work we neglected in favor of shopping and hair appointments. Let the real reading days begin.

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