1. More outdoor events
If you’ve been as cautious about COVID-19 as I have, seeing that an event is set to take place outdoors is such a relief. Not only do you have to worry less about the spread of the virus, but you also have the opportunity to be out in the sun, which is often a rarity for busy college students. While spending time in the air conditioning and avoiding sunburn is great, it can be really nice to breathe some fresh air and enjoy the warm weather.
2. You don’t have to bundle up when walking to class
With the three and maybe more — I lost count in the middle of February — snowstorms Charlottesville had, walking to classes was a much more painful experience. Having to bring along a bulky winter coat that you have no clue what to do with once you get inside is a hassle. Moreover, it's not ideal when your hair gets wet after all the pretty snowflakes melt when you are just trying to get through another lecture. In spring, the most you’ll need is a cardigan or flannel for when your classroom gets chilly.
3. The end of the year is in sight
It’s so much easier to enjoy Spring Fest and other events when you know that the end of your stressful classes is steadily approaching. Maybe it’s just the years of being in school, but the arrival of warm weather has always signified that stressful exams and the constant feeling that you’re forgetting about some deadline will be over soon. Plus, getting to the library to study for finals is much more enjoyable when there isn’t ice on the roads.
4. The Lawn
This bit of grass at the center of Grounds is a staple of the University, but during the winter months, it can be hard to enjoy. Constant snow makes the area muddy and sitting on the frozen ground can make the cold feel even colder. Once the weather starts to get warmer, you’ll start to see many students bringing blankets to do homework and community members coming to bring their children and dogs. The University feels so much more alive once you see a bunch of people gather here.
5. Seeing more dogs
While going to the library on Sunday is never a fun activity, it is made so much better when you see someone walking their dog on Grounds. The amount of dogs on Grounds seems to decrease when the weather is colder, but once it gets to be just a bit warm, the first thought many people have is to take their dog outside. People will even bring their dogs to the Lawn to play fetch or join them on their picnic. Once you see your weather app indicate any temperature above 60 degrees, you can bet there will be some cute puppy for you to dote on while walking about.
6. Prospective students come
While crowds of students during Days on the Lawn can be an inconvenience for us students, some of the best things happen on Grounds when people come to visit. The food in the dining hall gets better, more “tablers” on the Lawn and by Newcomb offer free food or items in exchange for listening to a spiel and people just seem to be happier. Overall, Grounds seems to be more active once the next crop of students comes and it reminds me of why I chose the University in the first place. I recommend walking around when Days on the Lawn is having its next event and soaking up the feeling of excitement.
7. Carter’s Mountain starts opening daily
While visiting an apple orchard seems more like a fall activity, Carter’s Mountain is just as beautiful and fun during the spring. During the colder months, Carter’s mountain is only open on the weekends, but now that it’s April, you can come to get cider donuts and see the view from their patio any day of the week. This makes a great day trip if you need a break from studying for exams or going to CIO meetings. With events such as their Sunset Series right around the corner, going to this Charlottesville classic can build up hype for wonderful memories with your friends.
8. Making use of the ice cream in the dining halls
I always know the weather is getting nicer when I see people leaving Newcomb Hall with ice cream cones in hand. As a prospective student, having access to a soft-serve machine most days seemed like such a luxury. But once you start rushing through your meals to get back to studying and the weather starts to not pair well with the dessert, it’s easy to take this luxury for granted. As soon as the weather gets warmer, you can snag an ice cream cone from one of the dining halls and take it with you as you walk to class, satisfying your sweet tooth and cooling you down from the warm weather.
9. Garden picnics
One thing that makes Grounds unique is the gardens that sit behind the Lawn pavilions that people can relax in and organizations can reserve for their events. From dinners to bracelet-making, these spaces often host a variety of events, but I personally love having an evening picnic in them, since they are often shaded and offer a more private area. Try taking your friends or convincing your CIO to host a potluck in one of these areas to enjoy a quieter part of Grounds.
10. Outdoor classes
While this phenomenon may be limited to the English Creative Writing classes I have taken, some professors will take their classes outside when the weather gets nice. Personally, I have enjoyed laying on the ground to look at the sky while discussing books or suggesting to take the class from the Lawn. If you’re lucky, your professor might just take your idea of going outside for class into consideration. I’ve seen classes being held in the Amphitheater and by the Rotunda, so this might not be as isolated as you would think.