1. Walking everywhere
I know you have probably had your fair share of walks since social distancing has taken effect, but there is nothing quite like walking with a purpose. On Grounds, it is easy for us to walk several miles a day to and from class, to get lunch or coffee and even to the gym. Once in-person classes start again, remember to appreciate the walks that never seem to end. The brisk pace you have to adopt to make it across Grounds gives you the impression that you are important — like a high-class professional in a big city. Not to mention, all that walking means you don’t have to exercise because just going to class breaks a sweat!
2. In-person classes
Zoom is great — don’t get me wrong — but there’s nothing quite like the panic of searching for an open seat in a 300-person lecture. And although it may seem like a hassle to get up, get dressed and physically attend classes, the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies attendance is unmatched by video chat and discussion boards. During your next in-person lecture, be sure to appreciate the joys of eye contact and not having to worry about your mom popping in to check on you or your cat walking across your keyboard.
3. Doing homework outside of your home or apartment
Oh, how I long to do homework in a coffee shop, getting distracted by other customers and the noises of the espresso machine. There’s something to be said about being more productive outside of your home, and it seems like none of us realized that until it was taken away. As if it wasn’t hard enough to find a seat in libraries and coffee shops on the Corner before this extended break from Grounds, we will never be able to find a spot once we return. Keep in mind the beauty of the outdoors — that we have all grown to appreciate over the past few weeks — when you are searching for an alternative study spot in the fall.
4. Local restaurants
It doesn’t matter whether you’re judging off of food quality or originality — Charlottesville restaurants are unmatched. And after being deprived for several months, you will never again get tired of Roots, Take It Away, Bodo’s or any other gem on the Corner. Though, keep in mind that if you are in Charlottesville, you may still be able to eat some of these student favorites to boost the local economy and help support real people during this difficult time.
5. Dining hall food
I know it may pain you to admit it, but Newcomb can be delicious. And even though I love a home-cooked meal, there aren’t very many options at home, and I certainly can’t steal an obscene amount of desserts from my own kitchen. When August rolls around and you find yourself complaining about Runk’s lack of vegetables and you’re bored of O’hill’s salad bar, just remember how you longed for a to-go box in this very moment.
6. People watching
Pretty soon, we will be able to stop watching our neighbors on their daily walks, and we can return to creepily watching strangers walk by the 1515 window seats. Who knew that borderline-stalker activity was something we all found joy in? For now, scrolling through social media will have to do, but as soon as August comes, have your sunglasses ready to stare as everyone strides past you as you sit outside sipping your iced coffee.
7. Apartment and dorm life
There is something special about having a place that you can call your own — even if you technically share your suite with five other people. All shared living spaces have their own difficulties, but so does living at home. Just remember that when your roommate fails to take out the trash again, there was a time you deeply missed your apartment and would’ve given anything to be out of your parents’ house — even if that means being in dorms.
8. In-person conversations
One thing that we have all learned from online classes at Zoom University is the power of an email. Although it isn’t possible to articulate yourself via written communication, there is nothing quite like a face-to-face interaction. Whether it is office hours, a conversation in passing or slight gossip with your friends, I look forward to the day that we can talk to one another without having to politely type our thoughts or shout into the six-foot void between one another.
9. Sporting events
Sure, sports can be boring, but after watching the men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse national championship games on repeat for several weeks, anything else would be exciting. If you find yourself at a game next semester that seems to drag on and on, consider how you were forced to watch bowling on ESPN, and you will suddenly become the biggest fan of any University sport — whether it’s football, basketball, tennis, squash or water polo.
Odds are you haven’t been invited to any parties recently, and Boylan has yet to send out a Zoom link to an exclusive event on the second floor. I have a feeling that next semester everyone will be taking advantage of all the nightlife that Charlottesville has to offer, whether that is a night of rolling bars with your friends, attending club-sponsored events and parties or getting all dolled up for semi-formals and date functions. We all know that dancing on your kitchen table isn’t quite the same as being at the Virginian, but keep practicing — your day will come.