When commencing college as a first-year, many can’t fathom how soon they will be graduating. So when graduation actually comes around, fourth-years are struck with mixed emotions — nostalgia and pure shock by how quickly the time has passed.
No matter what club, organization or University events students attended or participated in throughout their four years, these experiences all left lasting impressions on fourth-years.
Rachel Clark, fourth-year College student, orientation leader and resident assistant of Tuttle-Dunnington, remarked that living in Old Dorms as a first-year was one of the best experiences she had. Emmet Dorms, which are now closed for renovation, created a community environment where she met some of her closest friends to this day.
“There is something to be said about living in Old Dorms with no air conditioning and the constant sight of bugs,” Clark said. “I got so close with all my hallmates and still hang out with them.”
Similarly, fourth-year College student and Lawn resident Mahnoor Khurshid looked back at her spring semester of her first year as one of the most memorable times. In January 2016, the University was blanketed by a snowstorm causing classes to be canceled the first few days of school. Students gathered on the Lawn to enjoy the snow and each other’s company, as well as engage in winter activities such as sledding and snowball fights.
“Everyone is so close-knit first year and I think my best memories are from first year and having my group of friends always near me,” Khurshid said.
Whether it was taking naps in each other’s rooms or grabbing food together at the nearby dining halls, the first-year experience is cherished by many of the soon-to-be graduates.
Khurshid draws similarities between her first-year experience in Dorms to her time living on the Lawn. She explained how normal it was during her first year to walk into O’Hill and meet new people, and Khurshid looked to regain this type of community environment through living on the Lawn. As vice president of the Muslim Student Association, Khurshid was eager to make the Lawn a welcoming space for Muslims to interact with one another. In fact, Khurshid has hosted weekly Islamic talks in her Lawn room and is very active in the University and local Muslim communities.
“When you are on the Lawn it is like [being a first-year] all over again,” Khursid said. “It is normal to talk to your neighbors and say hi to everybody. Waking up to the Rotunda every morning is definitely something special, but I think it is the people that live on the Lawn who make the experience so cool.”
More recently, Meghan Kelley, fourth-year College student and captain of the University women’s tennis team, cited the celebration of the 2019 men’s basketball national championship win as an experience she will look back on and cherish for the rest her life. The NCAA basketball games fostered a sense of community and camaraderie amongst University students where people cheered, danced and celebrated with close friends and even students they had just met that night.
“Celebrating the national championship game this spring was something I’ll tell people about forever,” Kelley said. “The whole school was so invested in the game, and the celebration afterwards brought everyone together.”
After four years at the University, students have built lifelong connections and memories with University community members. With graduation just around the corner, fourth-years feel proud to call themselves a Wahoo and are already looking forward to visiting Grounds in the future as alumni.
“The town and community surrounding U.Va. is so cute and friendly,” Kelley said. “I will definitely be visiting often after graduation even if my friends aren’t in town just because there are always so many things to do.”