The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

EDITORIAL: Let’s take this step together

First or fourth year, we’re all entering new experiences together

We’re on the doorstep of a new and truly unique semester. After over two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, fourth-year students will begin their school years much like first-years. We will all gather on Grounds with a renewed sense of normalcy — as many University traditions can safely resume this year. All of us are looking toward our first fully in-person, on-Grounds college experience. While fourth-years can still impart helpful, experienced advice on first-years, there will be much less distance between all of us. In a way, we’re all first-years — anticipating what this school year could possibly be like.

Some of our most missed traditions are set to make their return. Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn will see kids in their costumes — and probably a few students too — running down the steps of the Rotunda. We’ll get to see Julie Caruccio don the CavMan costume as she leads the team down the field during this upcoming football season. Mask mandates — once an important tool to keep everyone safe — have now been lifted, meaning we’ll get to see everyone’s faces on the very first day of class for the first time since 2020.

We encourage all upperclassmen to take advantage of these traditions. Make this the first-year experience you never got — make new friends, new memories and probably a few new reasons to miss Grounds when you leave. Explore those places on Grounds you’ve only ever heard of, and attend those events you’ve been thinking about since you applied to the University in high school. Don’t hesitate to make this place your own, but it is important that we enter these new spaces cognizant that they belong to a community. Whether on Grounds or out in Charlottesville, treat your environment with respect.

Upperclassmen should also respect and support first-year students, many of whom are not only entering their first semester of college but are also coming out of years of virtual and masked high school. Adjusting to college is an even bigger transition than in years past. Whether you’re in class with new students, joining clubs with them or just floating in the same circles, be a friend in what is an anxious time. We here at The Cavalier Daily are excited for our upcoming recruitment cycle, during which we get to invite new students into our organization and hear their passions and stories. This is always such a wonderful time to grow our community, and we know many other organizations across Grounds will see similar opportunities for upperclassmen and first-years to bond and learn from each other. Come learn more about all the ways to get involved at this Student Council Activities Fair.  

If we all band together — in our shared excitement or anxiety — we can better withstand the uncertainties already on the horizon of this school year. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, yet another virus is impacting the globe. Monkeypox, though less contagious than COVID-19, is officially a public health emergency, meaning U.Va. Health is having to prepare for a potential rise in cases in Charlottesville. This is a scary thought and the last thing any of us wants to think about, but if we learn from some of our past pandemic failures, we can navigate this uncertain terrain while keeping community transmission low. Part of respecting your environment and fellow students means staying home if you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 or monkeypox.

Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, thousands of people have already lost access to safe abortions — with many more Americans likely to face a similar fate. Recent news on arctic warming has only amplified the need to slow climate change. And Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointees to the University’s Board of Visitors also cast a gloom over the start to this semester. But we are hopeful that, with a refreshed feeling of community, students will at the very least have the spaces to express their frustrations with these issues. Joining a new club or organization or volunteering can help spur conversation and change. In the midst of these tragedies, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For one, Student Council provides a variety of resources to students.

Today, we want to be your push to try something new and get out there this fall. Don’t be afraid to discover first-year traditions as a fourth-year. And if you’re entering your first-year, know that all the older students on this Editorial Board share your unfamiliarity with many parts of beloved University traditions. First year or fourth year, we’ll all be celebrating them for the first time together. 

The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, their Senior Associate and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at eb@cavalierdaily.com.

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