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Top 10 things I forgot about being on Grounds the last two years

I’m thankful to be back, but happy to complain

<p>Ben Rosenthal is a Top 10 Writer for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Ben Rosenthal is a Top 10 Writer for The Cavalier Daily.

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1. How small the desks are

How the heck am I supposed to take notes in Wilson Hall when the desks are the size of half a grain of rice? Rumor has it that if you try to put both a notebook and a water bottle on a Wilson Hall desk at the same time, it will immediately collapse and trigger a magnitude 5.2 earthquake. The same applies to Gilmer Hall, but because it has been in construction for 48 years, I have forgotten all about the trials and tribulations that came with having to take Intro Psych notes there. Speaking of which…

2. The obscene amount of construction on Grounds

Last year, I would only walk through Grounds one or two times per month — usually in hopes of spotting and capturing a wild squirrel just to feel something. But now that I am back every day, I am reminded of how approximately half of Grounds is under construction. Half of me wonders why none of this could have been done over the summer, and the other half wonders the same thing, but with more exasperation. Why does Memorial Gym need a “facade repair?” What does that even entail?

3. How hot the state of Virginia is at the start of the fall semester

I have lived here for 21 years, and I always manage to forget that this happens every year. The first week of classes is always seemingly the hottest week of the summer — it goes from 82 degrees on Aug. 23 to 107 degrees on Aug. 24, and then it stays that way until early October, when it instantly plummets to 47 and cloudy on a good day. I actually started bringing a backup shirt to classes after the first became too sweat-drenched to wear, and later had to expand my depth chart to include a third-string shirt as well. 

4. How hit or miss the Newcomb Hall Starbucks is

I think this is just a Starbucks thing in general, so no disrespect to the fine folks at Newcomb Hall. But man, it’s amazing how you can order the exact same coffee five days per week and get completely different drinks each time. It’s also amazing that I’ve accepted wasting that much money on coffee, but yet, here we are. 

5. How to avoid tablers

On the first day of class, I made the mistake of walking by the South Lawn without earbuds in and was accosted by a bearded man in a flannel shirt trying to goad me into an improv comedy performance. Ever since that day, I’ve taken alternative routes, worn noise-cancelling headphones and carried a taser in my backpack just in case someone else tries to hand me a flyer and tells me to “support the arts.” Avoiding tablers is an art, and I think we’re all just a little bit rusty. 

6. How offensive the University Transit System is

Riddle me this, kids — if I have a class at noon and the bus arrives at its stop at 11:46 a.m., am I going to make it to class on time? I don’t know, because I’ve never had the guts to find out. Public transportation should not be a gamble, folks. Similarly, the closest stop to my house should probably not be a 10-minute walk away in the first place, but what do I know? This is an incredibly personal point that probably only resonates with the few of us who live on the lawless abyss known as Jefferson Park Ave., but this is my only platform and I’d be a fool not to use it. 

7. How cute visiting families are

I will slip one positive thing into this article for the soft-hearted — tour groups are adorable. Well, I’m not talking about the actual groups as much as the individual families. I was studying in the Rotunda today because I wanted to feel better than everyone else, and all of these families came in to marvel because I guess they had never seen a round room before. At first I was annoyed to be distracted while doing my fantasy football mock drafts — I mean studying — but eventually, it circled around to being kind of cute. 

8. What 10,000 steps feels like 

Spoiler alert — not good. My highest step count last fall when we were online was 87, and that was only because I saw an uneaten granola bar in front of my house and went outside to get it. This semester, I have had to use my legs again, and I’m afraid it has not been a pleasant experience, to say the least. The one positive is that my calves are starting to get back to their former selves, and I may be able to regain the calf modeling contract I lost back in May due to disuse. 

9. Where to get food on Grounds

OK, this one is not my fault — nothing really seems to be open, does it? As a fourth year, I have earned the right to avoid U.Va. dining halls at all costs, but that has left me with very few options this semester. In other words, keep Rising Roll open this semester. Please. I subsisted entirely off of that hummus and veggie wrap for a year and a half of my undergraduate career, and I want to do it again. This is me using my platform for selfish reasons again, and I don’t care. It was good hummus, and I’m not going to apologize for trying.

10. How great it is to participate in class and learn with all my peers in the same room

Just kidding, I don’t care about any of that sentimental junk right now. The heat is making every one of us a sweaty mess, and the amount of paranoia and distrust when somebody coughs helps me understand what McCarthyism must have felt like in the 1950s. Call me when it has cooled down 20 degrees, and maybe I’ll be a bit more sugary sweet.